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DEA Moves to Ban Kratom and its Active Chemicals (but may back off)
many communities argue against this emergency scheduling action
by Erowid
Sep 26, 2016
Oct 12, 2016 Update: The DEA is withdrawing the notice of intent to schedule Mitragynine and 7-Hydroxymitragynine that was published on August 31, 2016 and soliciting comments from the public regarding scheduling. The comment period will be open until December 1, 2016. See Federal Register, Schedules of Controlled Substances: Temporary Placement of Mitragynine and 7-Hydroxymitragynine into Schedule I; Withdrawal, Filed Oct 12, 2016, for details.

Sep 30, 2016 Update: The proposed U.S. emergency scheduling of kratom's psychoactive chemicals, which was to take effect on September 30th, has been indefinitely delayed in response to public outcry (Pain News Network, 9/29/16). The following was true as of Sep 26, 2016.

The DEA may ban kratom as early as September 30, 2016. The US Drug Enforcement Agency has proposed emergency banning kratom's psychoactive chemicals (Mitragynine and 7-Hydroxymitragynine) and the plants that naturally contain these chemicals. This will criminalize a relatively safe opioid substitute therapy and make research extremely difficult. The public and concerned professionals can contact the DEA and the FDA to express their opinion about this Emergency Scheduling. Contact DEA Public Affairs at 202.307.7977.

Sign the White House Petition against adding Kratom to Schedule I.

As published in the Aug 31 2016 U.S. Federal Register, Mitragynine and 7-Hydroxymitragynine, "the synthetic equivalents as well as [...] naturally contained in the plant of the genus and species name: Mitragyna speciosa Korth, also known as kratom", are being temporarily placed in Schedule I. See the Federal Register 81 FR 59929.

The DEA has said they've received an unusual number of responses voicing opposition to this emergency scheduling action. A letter signed by 49 members of Congress has been sent to the DEA and additional pressure could stop this terrible policy.

According to Jacob Sullum at Reason, the DEA may be re-thinking this move. He quotes second hand "DEA spokesman Melvin Patterson" who says that the agency might not "keep" kratom in Schedule I.

Erowid believes that it is an extremely bad policy error to completely ban kratom the plant or dried plant material. It demonstrates a deep lack of understanding of who the heaviest users of kratom are and why it is used. The heaviest use of kratom is by existing opioid-dependent people and kratom is perhaps one of the safest and cheapest methods for managing withdrawal symptoms. More research is needed to recommend specific long-term medical policies, but making the plants and chemicals in it Schedule I will make medical research very difficult.