The DEA has backed off its plan to ban kratom, a Vietnamese botanical that people use to kick opioid addictions.
Per the Seattle Times: “the Drug Enforcement Administration said it will withdraw its plan to place an emergency ban on kratom after an outcry from users and scientists.”
In September, Seattle Weekly interviewed several people in Seattle who use kratom either as a pain-relief alternative or simply as way to mellow out. As Lael Henterly reported for us, the research is preliminary, but early studies suggest that kratom does target the same brain receptors as opiates.
Users were aghast that the DEA would suddenly ban the substance, which is available over-the-counter at most smoke shops; the DEA itself seemed to have little evidence to justify the ban, other than to say that the Kratom had not been sufficiently studied.
According to the Times, members of Congress joined the chorus, including U.S. Representative Suzan DelBene (D-Medina). “I’m glad the DEA agreed to at least open a public comment period,” she told the paper. “which will ensure meaningful research can continue on the potential benefits of kratom for those dealing with opioid abuse … we should be looking at every possible tool to address this epidemic.”
A representative from the DEA told the Times that it had never reversed course like this before.