DEA Withdraws Proposal to Ban Kratom


The Drug Enforcement Administration has repealed their proposal to ban the use of Kratom, a plant often used to treat opioid addiction, according to The Washington Post.

Today’s official statement about the repeal is caused by a lack of information and a large amount of public opposition to the original notice of intent. Backlash came not only from the general public, but also a group of 51 US representatives and 9 senators.

Acting administrator Chuck Rosenberg wrote:

“The DEA has received numerous comments from members of the public challenging the scheduling action and requesting that the agency consider those comments and accompanying information before taking further action.”

Kratom, a plant related to coffee, has effects similar to those of opiates and alcohol, and is therefore used to treat addiction. Researchers are currently working with the plant to develop nonaddictive alternatives to painkillers. Banning the drug, they say, could hinder their work.

Those who advocate for the use of the plant are understandably thrilled at the ban’s reversal. “I am in tears,” wrote Susan Ash of the American Kratom Association in an email to the Post. “Our voices are being heard, but we still have a long road ahead of us.”

The next step in the DEA’s decision involves the opening for public comment, which will last until Dec. 1. The DEA will also ask the FDA for a “scientific and medical evaluation and scheduling recommendation” for Kratom and its chemical compounds.

When the period closes, one of three actions will be taken toward Kratom: it will be placed in a schedule of the Controlled Substances Act, it will be temporarily scheduled, or it will be left unregulated.