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article imageKratom gets a reprieve from the DEA — at least for now

By Karen Graham     Oct 14, 2016 in Health
The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration reversed itself on Wednesday, announcing it has removed Kratom from the agency's list of Schedule I substances, at least for now.
On August 31, 2016, the DEA published a notice of intent to place the relatively unknown Southeast Asian plant known as Kratom in its most restrictive classification of the Controlled Substances Act, according to Digital Journal.
But since that time, a group of vendors has filed a lawsuit against the government to block the move, and social media has taken up the protest, with angry advocates for Kratom's use coming forward with their stories.
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American Kratom Association/Twitter
But according to NPR on Wednesday, the federal drug watchdog now says it wants to seek more public feedback on the issue, opening a public comment period that will last until December 1, 2016. Russ Baer, a spokesman for the DEA says the agency has received over 2,000 phone calls from people objecting to their hasty decision to include Kratom as a Schedule I drug.
The notice of intent to place the active ingredients in Kratom on the Schedule I listing was published in the Federal Register on October 6, 2016. In addition to the public comment period, the DEA is asking the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to conduct a scientific and medical evaluation of the herb that will be used to make an updated scheduling recommendation.
Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is an tropical evergreen tree in the coffee family. It is native to Southeastern Asia and is indigenous to Thailand where it has been used in traditional medicine for hundreds of years, according to a study done in Thailand when the question of decriminalizing Kratom was brought before the Justice Department.
While Kratom is not an opioid, it can have opioid-like effects. The herb does appear to help in managing chronic pain and overdoses reported in the U.S. have shown minimal signs or symptoms, which resolved rapidly with no residual disability.
Instructions for submitting a comment by mail or electronically can be found in the DEA's Oct. 12 announcement.
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