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posted by cmn32480 on Saturday October 01 2016, @05:53PM   Printer-friendly
from the winning(?)-the-war-on-drugs dept.

The blowback against the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration's decision to ban kratom has caught the attention of a bipartisan group of legislators, but a DEA spokesman has said that "It's not a matter of if. It's simply a matter of when" the DEA bans kratom:

A bipartisan group of nine senators is calling on the Drug Enforcement Administration to delay its "unprecedented" decision to ban kratom, a plant that researchers say holds great potential for mitigating the effects of the opioid epidemic. [...] The Senate letter, spearheaded by Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) says: "Congress granted emergency scheduling authority to the DEA based on the need for law enforcement interdiction of new and previously unknown illegal synthetic street drugs that result in injuries and death. The use of this emergency authority for a natural substance is unprecedented, so it is important to determine whether the circumstances here necessitate a jump to Schedule I.

"Given the long reported history of Kratom use," the letter continues, "coupled with the public's sentiment that it is a safe alternative to prescription opioids, we believe using the regular review process would provide for a much-needed discussion among all stakeholders." [...] The DEA cites 600-plus poison-control center calls involving kratom between 2010 and 2015 in its justification for banning the plant, and notes that 15 deaths were linked to the use of the plant between 2014 and 2016. In an interview with The Washington Post, a DEA spokesman later clarified that all but one of those fatalities involved the use of other substances. Earlier this week 51 U.S. representatives similarly called on the DEA and the White House to reconsider or at least delay the ban, which was slated to go into effect as early as Friday. In an interview, DEA spokesman Russell Baer confirmed that the ban was not yet in place. "We have not yet determined a date when we will publish that final order" putting the ban into effect, he said.

There may be a public comment period before the ban takes effect, and the White House is now obligated to respond to the petition about kratom, which has reached over 140,000 signatures.

Text of the Senators' letter. Also at Ars Technica, CBS, and US News & World Report.

Previously: DEA Welcomes Kratom to the Schedule I List Beginning September 30
Heroin, Fentanyl? Meh: Carfentanil is the Latest Killer Opioid
Alcohol Industry Bankrolls Fight Against Legal Pot in Battle of the Buzz [Updated]


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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 01 2016, @06:15PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday October 01 2016, @06:15PM (#408847)

    That guy has been in bed with the "dietary supplement" lobby for decades. He is a large part of the reason the FDA was gutted of all power [scienceblogs.com] to regulate the supplement industry. His family personally profits [nytimes.com] from the fake drug industry. He being the spokesman for this only reinforces in my mind that the DEA is right on this topic. Guarantee that Hatch is getting nice campaign contributions for this, and people close to him will be getting richer as well.

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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by takyon on Saturday October 01 2016, @06:16PM

    by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Saturday October 01 2016, @06:16PM (#408848) Journal

    Hatch... along with:

    • Mike Lee (R-Utah)
    • Mark Kirk (R-Ill.)
    • Angus King (I-Maine)
    • Michael F. Bennet (D-Colo.)
    • Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.)
    • Thom Tillis (R-N.C.)
    • Ron Wyden (D-Ore.)
    • Mark R. Warner (D-Va.)
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  • (Score: 4, Informative) by takyon on Saturday October 01 2016, @06:20PM

    by takyon (881) <takyonNO@SPAMsoylentnews.org> on Saturday October 01 2016, @06:20PM (#408850) Journal

    As well as 51 members of the House of Representatives in a separate letter.

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by HiThere on Saturday October 01 2016, @08:33PM

    by HiThere (866) on Saturday October 01 2016, @08:33PM (#408868) Journal

    No. NOTHING should be on schedule 1. I can understand arguments for restricting some drugs, though they tend to go overboard in a massive power grab, but schedule 1 should be abolished.

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  • (Score: 2) by Hyperturtle on Saturday October 01 2016, @11:14PM

    by Hyperturtle (2824) on Saturday October 01 2016, @11:14PM (#408891)

    kratom is most certainly not part of his herbal supplement regime.

    Perhaps one can read up on it? He may smell an opportunity; Kratom has mostly been underground if perhaps an open secret, but it's not like you can get it at GNC or the grocery store's vitamin aisle. Not yet, anyway.

    How they can conclude it has no medical use or benefit and then simutaneously seek to classify it to prevent research into it to determine if that is the case, certainly is self-fulfilling of a prophecy. Mr. Hatch would be seeking a self-profiting pharmacy; it is not always bad to play such interests against one another.

    For people that have found a use for Kratom, it could be a way that they are able to continue purchasing it. Looking at the various places posting about it, it seems that more people signed the petition than has been done for medical marijuana (although I do not know if thats in total or just in a given scenario--this being the first one for Kratom).

    Even if it is only higher in some context rather than all of them, it is important -- there are regular people writing in about this. Look at some of the youtube videos about it--middle aged women who are not your typical thrill seekers are pleading that this is left alone.

    Sounds to me like something of value may be in those leaves... and it also sounds to me that the Martin Shrekli's of the world (or whatever his name is) are circling sharks. No way to profit if it's cheap and grows on trees... better limit the supply to control the distrubution to a growing demand...