On August 31st, the DEA announced that it had decided to classify Kratom as a Schedule I substance (Controlled Substances Act). The temporary classification will go into effect on September 30th.
Shortly after the announcement, the White House received a petition entitled “Please do not make Kratom a Schedule I Substance.” The online petition reached 100,000 signatures this Thursday; the number at which the White House typically feels obliged to respond.
“Schedule I drugs, substances, or chemicals are defined as drugs with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse,” states the petition. “This is not true for Kratom. It has been shown numerous times in reports from users to help recovering opiate addicts, treat pain, combat depression and anxiety, and much more.”
In reality, Kratom is a highly addictive, dangerous opiod-like substance often marketed as tea. Those who stop consuming Kratom experience withdrawal symptoms similar to that of a heroin addict. The controversial drug is also sold in pills, powders, and energy shots.
Kratom carries no labels and no regulations. It is legal in all but six states (Indiana, Tennessee, Vermont, Wisconsin, Arkansas, and Alabama) and can be found in gas stations, kava bars, and head shops. You can even buy it online.
Users argue that Kratom has medicinal properties, that it helped them recover from heroine or allowed them to stop using painkillers – but these individuals have simply traded one addiction for another.
We pubished an article over a year ago, written by former staffer Brett Jones (now with the Associated Press). Its worth having a look. Note that the addiction required a 30 day stint in rehab to get over.
Warning This Drug is Legal Right Now
This story is reported as it was relayed to my by a personal friend. She is what you would call a ‘good girl’- honors program in college, doesn’t use illegal drugs, never had any trouble with the law, still wearing a promise ring…you get the picture. She wished to remain anonymous.
She was doing the internship required by her honors program in a law office, for one attorney in particular. He had a client who was in legal trouble for something having to do with synthetic marijuana. As this clients case went on, he discovered something called ‘kratom tea’ and began bringing it into lawyers office almost daily.
My friend was told only that it was ‘kind of like coffee.’ It felt that way to her. She described it as a ‘pleasant energy.’ She began hanging out at the place that served this kratom tea on the weekends. This went on for about a year.
Until one day the clients case wrapped up and he didn’t turn up at the office with the kratom tea.
At first, she thought it was the flu. She had a horrible headache, cold sweats; she felt nauseous and weak. Then other people in the office began exhibiting the same symptoms. The only commonality between these people was kratom tea.
Someone finally googled kratom and they found their answer. Kratom is an opioid- like heroin, prescription painkillers, and morphine. They had all gone into withdrawal. A sleepless night later, my friend and the other employees had no choice but to check themselves into detox. Those of them that I was able to speak to told me that withdrawal from kratom was easily the worst, most painful thing any of them had ever gone through.
Kratom is still legal in all but one state- Tennessee. It can be freely ordered over the internet, found at gas stations, or sold at kava bars. No warning labels exist. You don’t know what it is until it’s too late. It’s also not regulated at all. A ten year old could walk into one of those places and buy it.
Right now, Broward County, FL is attempting to ban kratom. The only reason it’s finally getting legislative attention is because a nineteen year old recently committed suicide after using kratom for a prolonged period of time.
Is anyone in your state or county aware of this danger? If not, I’d warn them.