People with substance dependence issues or chronic pain were dealt a blow yesterday when the DEA announced their intent to effectively ban the medicinal chemicals present in the plant, Mitragyna speciosa, or kratom.
Chuck Rosenberg, acting administrator of the DEA, claims the action “is necessary to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety.” As an example of the risks of kratom, the DEA cites a CDC study published this summer that counted 660 poison control calls during a five-year period from 2010 to 2015 on behalf of people suffering untoward reactions to the herb or teas made from the plant material.
Related – The DEA To Place Mitragynine And 7-Hydroxymitragynine From Kratom On Schedule I
The relative magnitude of this “hazard to public safety” has been called into question by kratom users and commenters here at Forbes. To put kratom risks in perspective, poison control centers received 6,843 reports of young children ingesting single-load laundry pods in just the first seven months of 2016.
When I first wrote about kratom for another publication earlier this summer, I had assumed that it was primarily used for recreational purposes because it has mild, self-limiting effects on opioid receptors. To my surprise, more than three-quarters of reader comments at Forbes and on my Twitter and Facebook feeds are from people who’ve been using kratom to relieve chronic pain, clinical anxiety and depression, and in recovery from opioid and alcohol dependence.