Kratom, an herbal drug made of ground-up tree leaves, is "temporarily" joining other natural substances such as cannabis, psilocybin, and peyote on the schedule I list of the Controlled Substances Act. The active ingredients in kratom, the indole alkaloids mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, are both being added to the list for up to three years, after which they can be added permanently.
Prior to this move, the U.S. has already been seizing shipments of kratom:
In 2014, the FDA issued an import alert that allowed US Customs agents to detain kratom without a physical examination. "We have identified kratom as a botanical substance that could pose a risk to public health and have the potential for abuse," said Melinda Plaisier, the FDA's associate commissioner for regulatory affairs. According to the DEA, between February 2014 and July 2016, nearly 247,000 pounds of kratom were seized.
Advocates say that kratom is a natural treatment for opioid addiction, an application that the Drug Enforcement Agency dismisses. Meanwhile, the heroin/opioid epidemic continues with "unprecedented" events like the recent 174 heroin overdoses in just six days in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Check out the implosion of this kratom subreddit, which is attempting to get 100,000 signatures on the White House petition site:
APATHY WILL GET US NOWHERE. IF THERE WAS EVER A TIME FOR US TO BAND TOGETHER, ITS NOW. stand with me brothers and sisters. hope is not lost.
I'm not talking about any claimed medical uses. I don't think that's the DEA's area anyway, it's the FDA. Basically, the DEA is making this drug illegal because ... they feel like it? Has there actually been any harm proven?
Yes and it was the FDA that sent out a bulletin that it wasn't approved for use in the US and should be impounded when found. The DEA was founded several years after the act that created this scheduling was.
Also, the burden of proof here is on people that are trying to sell this stuff to demonstrate that it's safe and effective for use. This was the result of the previous system where people were allowed to bottle whatever they liked, make whatever claims about it they liked and people got sick and died as a result.
I personally like knowing that if I'm taking something or eating something that it's established to be at least a little bit safe rather than being a complete unknown.
Isn't this just a frikkin' plant?
Schedule I does a lot more than prevent some overseas people from shipping you some potentially dangerous drugs. It also prevents you from legally growing it in your own home, on your own terms. No tree leaves for you!
Apparently, the only deaths linked to kratom involved other substances.