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posted by martyb on Thursday September 01 2016, @12:32PM   Printer-friendly
from the deadly-embrace dept.

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.

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  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 02 2016, @12:02AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday September 02 2016, @12:02AM (#396466)

    While its not a traditional opiate like morphine, it is indeed an opioid with activity at the mu-opioid receptor. Mitragynine and its metabolites are full mu-agonists, like morphine, however its activity at other opioid receptors changes its pharmacological profile substantially. Its generally accepted that kratom doesn't cause hypoventilation or bradycardia like other traditional opioids would when taken in high amounts. This results in an astoundingly high therapeutic index for an opioid. Kratom can still be addictive however and can cause withdrawal symptoms when its is stopped after an extended period of use. Its quite saddening to hear it being moved to schedule I however. Many heroin and prescription painkiller addicts use kratom as a stepping stone to get off opioids entirely. The only thing making kratom illegal will do is create a new class of criminals for the justice system to hoover up into private prisons. People who are currently on kratom may move to harder opioids to stop the withdrawal while users of those harder opioids won't have the opportunity to use kratom to ease their way do if they wanted to. This is NOT the solution to the opioid addiction epidemic this country seems to be suffering from. Treatment programs and medications that ACTUALLY WORK (hint, get MC-18 onto the goddamn market already) are the only way to combat opioid addiction. You will never get rid of the heroin or destroy the market for diverted painkillers. The DEA has its head so far up its ass though, so real changes aren't coming anytime soon.

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