DEA ‘waiting for analysis’: Kratom may soon be banned

SEATTLE – Kratom grows in Southeast Asia. Its leaves can be chewed, made into pills, ground and steeped into tea or added to food.

The leafy green plant is widely available and advertised as a safe, organic and natural “cure” for opioid addiction, pain relief and even cancer.

In 2016, kratom products exceeded sales of $1 billion in the U.S. alone.

But there’s a problem.

Kratom — a natural opioid — has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and may soon be banned in the U.S.

“I don’t know anything about the cancer claims,” said Kenneth Thummel, PhD. “That’s a bit of a stretch to me.”

Thummel, the chairman Chair of the University of Washington’s department of pharmaceutics, is concerned by the lack of research that has been done on kratom to determine its efficacy and safety.  

He’s also concerned kratom is widely available for sale – in stores and online — with no instructions for dosage or serving size.

“The dose makes the poison,” he told KIRO 7 from his office at UW on Wednesday. “How much are people taking, and is there any instruction about what you shouldn’t exceed?” he asked. 

Another problem, according to Thummel, is “adulteration of the product. There’s no regulation on the manufacturing of it. There are cases where products clearly were adulterated with very potent opioids to enhance the product, and that can be fatal,” he said.

The FDA claims kratom has contributed to the deaths of at least 36 people. Click here for more information.

On Wednesday, Special Agent Melvin Patterson told KIRO 7 that the Drug Enforcement Administration is “still waiting for analysis” before deciding whether to designate kratom a Schedule I drug, illegal because it has high abuse potential, no medical use and severe safety concerns.

Heroin, LSD and cocaine are all Schedule I drugs.

Shilo Jama believes making kratom illegal “would be the most idiotic thing” the DEA could do.  

As executive director of the People’s Harm Reduction Alliance in Seattle, Jama said he’s seen people successfully treat their opioid addictions using kratom.

“I’m not against kratom in any way,” Jama said. “Kratom has shown to be successful, and for the people who use it for treatment, I think it’s great they found an easy solution that they don’t have to go through a doctor” to utilize.

Jama said kratom is a valuable option for addicts who live in areas where treatment options are not widely available.

He believes, however, that the strength and dosages of kratom should be regulated.  “I am for regulations. I’m not for limiting people’s access to a potential treatment option” he said.

Before consumers believe the widespread claims that kratom can cure addictions abd even cancer, Dr. Thummel would like it to be carefully studied, which he admits would be more difficult if it is designated a Schedule I drug.

“The public is taking a risk in believing the claims,” Thummel said.  “I’m not saying that it’s a very unsafe product, but research needs to be done to establish one way or the other about safety.”

What is the difference in the terms “contributed to the deaths” and “caused the death”.. quite a bit… if a person OD’s and there is a “cocktail” of various substances … it is nearly impossible to determine which single substance was the cause of death…  BUT… if your agenda is to POINT A FINGER… you come out stating that it “contributed” to the OD. Similar to the concept of GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT..

36 deaths.. over what time frame ?… last year… 48 kids/babies died because their parent left them in a closed car. But apparently the death of 48 INNOCENT BABIES does not rise to the level of a “epidemic” as opposed to 36 people who have CHOSEN to take several legal/illegal substances in an attempt to GET HIGH.




4 Responses

  1. “The actual manufactured opiod’s are the medications that should, by rights, be banned from use, but we all know, that will never happen and why it won’t.”

    Seriously? Have you been conscious the last year or two?

    And why “by rights” should manufactured opiod’s [sic] be banned?

  2. One thing I deplore more than I can say is a medical “professional” who speaks on a subject such as Kratom, without first, doing adequate research. It’s obvious that is case (again) here
    Quotes from the article;

    1, “There are cases where products clearly were adulterated with very potent opioids to enhance the product, and that can be fatal,” he said.”
    REALITY > Kratom is NOT an opiod. It’s reaction in the body ACTS LIKE an opiod to block pain but, LACKS the chemical constitution to be an actual “opiod”
    2, Again with the opiod accusation “Kratom — a natural opioid — has not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration and may soon be banned in the U.S.”
    REALITY > Refer back to #1.

    Then again, there’s this slanted addition > “The FDA claims kratom has contributed to the deaths of at least 36 people. Click here for more information.

    REALITY > The deaths mentioned are trying to be used against a natural substance and plant questions in the minds of people.
    Kratom may have been in the system’s of these people, but if that statement were BETTER EDUCATED and HONEST, the phrasing would have made mention to the fact that these people ALSO had pharmaceutical drugs in their systems, that would lead to death either by combination OR excessive dosage. Instead he neglects this important factor.

    The actual manufactured opiod’s are the medications that should, by rights, be banned from use, but we all know, that will never happen and why it won’t. Big pharm with it’s buddies in the gov’t, strike again.

    Another thing the Dr neglected to mention (because ?? perhaps a lack of due diligence) but harps on in a negative manner, is the dosage for Kratom use. Even I know that, so what’s his reason for avoiding more truth in this article?! Dare we think slanted views and misleading (lack of) imformation? Yes, I would say so.
    *The recommended dosage is 1/2 Teaspoon, also that amount can be increased by one capsule. The “2 things” with Kratom, is it’s *dangers* lies in Water Consumption.
    *If people don’t drink plenty of water when using it, they will become constipated, as well as the fact, that if they take too much, they will NOT overdose, but they will Throw Up.
    It’s as simple and as real as that.

    Kratom is the Last Substance that needs to be banned…. How about if the “all knowing” authorities start focusing on pharmaceuticals that create addictions and have countless side effects, instead of a natural substance that can actually do so much good (as well as helping people with drugs addictions to become drug free again and live a good life?
    Now that ^^ would be doing something positive and healthy, for a change!

  3. Meanwhile 18,000 people died due to over the counter NSID. This is just a way to make the product much more expensive and will take 20 years if every before it does get regulated. My question what do you expect the millions who found Kratom to be useful. All those herbs and other stuff you buy at the health food store is not regulated either. In fact Facebook did a study on are vitamins and other things that you buy in healthful food store and found that 30% did not have the amounts they stated they were they had or had false claims on them. However even worse something like 25% the even have the product that they said was in the pill or capsule that they were selling. This is been a problem for a long time in the healthcare industry but they have done nothing about it. Now people have found something that’s natural and helps people. If our government was sound they would place warning on Kratom and then let full research be done while people used the product. Making a schedule one product will means it will be 1000 time harder to research. Leave Kratom and other natural products alone. If you want to make sure people are selling what they say they are selling then set that up but dont just ban something because a few people died on it (and may not even what killed the person). The government is over reaching and with Trump and Sesions this is just a start.

  4. I completely agree. There are FAR more things out there that have FAR more serious harms to the public. I live with chronic pain due to a myriad of issues and if it weren’t for kratom, I would probably be suicidal. The reason I say that is because I, like SO many others with chronic pain, have been cut down off the measly amount of pain medication that I was getting. Here’s a story for you, too. I take an NSAIDS called ketorolac, brand name Toradaol. My doctor’s office, around the same time I was cut, started treating this NSAID, that I had been taking IN CONJUNCTION WITH pain meds for the past 3 years, like a narcotic. When I had been taking it every 3 weeks for the last couple of years, I was told out of the blue that they absolutely will NOT fill it any sooner than 30 days and that’s that. Now, if I’m going to not have access to pain meds anymore, why can’t I have the NSAID every 3 weeks, isn’t that what they recommend pain patients take, these NSAIDS? I am well aware that ketorolac is powerful and can cause issues but seeing as how I have tried a plethora of other NSAIDS that do NOT work for me and I have an anaphylactic allergic reaction to Ibuprofen, you would think they would be more accommodating. Especially when I have volunteered to go in to have my kidneys tested on a regular basis, seeing as that’s the reason they cite, that it’s going to “destroy” my kidneys if I take it every 3 weeks instead of every 30 days. Makes sense, right?? Not to any reasonable person, but hey, apparently it does to them. Why else would I be denied the only other thing that actually helps me and when it is endorsed by the “powers that be” even? It couldn’t be that it works and that’s why, COULD it? Same with Kratom. It works. That’s where the issues lie. Now those same powers that be are going to take the Kratom away on a similarly ridiculous premise. Instead of the 7 day difference, though, it’s because of polydrug overdoses in which Kratom just so happened to be present in the person’s system and because a shockingly small amount of people may lack an enzyme or something like rhat, causing them not to be able to process it. Although the last issue there has presently not been proven, in spite of the various individual reports on the internet stating that it happened to them or someone they know. But yeah, Kratom works and now they want to take that away, too. They won’t rest until we are left with nothing to turn to and nowhere to go, unless it’s to the streets or an premature grave. Why? Because then they’ll be RIGHT. There is more to it, I am certain of that. But that part has assisted in their decisions, I’m sure. Anyway, when they ban it, cancer is the best I can hope for. That or to die in my sleep. Mind you, I don’t WANT to die, but there is no alternative. We don’t GET lives. I guess we should have never gotten sick or injured in the first place, RIGHT? As if it were a choice, that we are being punished for making. I guess the right to not being made to suffer is something only animals have these days.

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