Issue Date: October 10, 2016
Congress pushes to delay kratom ban
Dozens of U.S. lawmakers are questioning the Drug Enforcement Administration’s intent to ban the medicinal herb kratom. DEA announced in August that it would classify two active components in the plant—mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine—as Schedule I narcotics, which have no acceptable medical use, effective Sept. 30. But DEA has yet to finalize that decision because a vocal group of kratom users say the drug has helped them recover from opioid addiction and that they use it to treat chronic pain, depression, and anxiety. Late last month, 51 members of the House of Representatives sent a letter to DEA and the White House Office of Management & Budget, urging administration officials to delay the ban on kratom and give the public a chance to comment on the planned action. More than a dozen senators also sent two letters to DEA pointing out that the use of emergency scheduling authority is intended for “new and previously unknown illegal synthetic street drugs.” DEA’s use of this authority on a natural substance is unprecedented, they write.
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