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  • 10.12.16

DEA holds off on plan to ban kratom, a natural but controversial opioid alternative

The Drug Enforcement Administration is holding off on plans to ban kratom, a plant related to coffee that has effects similar to opioid drugs, the Associated Press reports.

A petition on the White House website to keep the drug off the DEA’s Schedule I (a list of drugs deemed dangerous and lacking in medicinal value) gathered more than 140,000 signatures, and members of Congress had urged the agency to wait on more data. Kratom advocates say the substance is safer than addictive drugs like oxycodone and heroin and can be used to treat pain and opioid withdrawal.

The DEA said it will take public comment on the proposed ban through Dec. 1 and await a scientific review by the Food and Drug Administration before making a decision on regulating or banning kratom.SM