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The DEA is worsening the war on drugs by banning kratom, a natural remedy known to treat chronic pain and addiction

Kratom ban

(NaturalNews) The scientific and medical communities have known for years that there are many problems associated with the abuse of prescription opioid medications. The federal government itself is also well aware of the problem.

So why would a federal agency, especially the one agency in charge of medication regulation, make it more difficult to deal with this opioid abuse epidemic?

As reported by Vice, the Drug Enforcement Administration would not move pot off its list of Schedule I drugs, even though it doesn't belong there and never has. Worse, at the end of August, the agency announced it would add kratom to its list of scheduled drugs.

Kratom is a South Asian herbal remedy that is often used to treat chronic pain and addiction. Now it's on the same list as pot, a listing that is slated to begin Sept. 30, and will last at least two years.

'I don't know of any instance of them reversing themselves'

For the record, Schedule I drugs are those deemed to be highly susceptible to abuse, and which have "no currently accepted medical use," Vice noted, quoting the DEA website. Sales and possession of such drugs are illegal (unless, of course, you're a president who used to smoke pot and you've decided you've "got bigger fish to fry" instead).

Though medical research to some extent can still be conducted, the bureaucratic approval process is slow, time-consuming and costly, all of which combine to allow the government to continue claiming "no currently accepted medical use" as the current narrative and reality.

"I don't know of any instance of them reversing themselves," Jag Davies, director of communications strategy for the Drug Policy Alliance, told Vice, regarding the federal government and its drug scheduling decisions.

In recent days a bipartisan group of 45 lawmakers has written to the DEA, asking the agency to postpone its kratom ban. Led by Reps. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., and Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., the group sent a pair of letters, one to Chuck Rosenberg, acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and the other to Shaun Donovan, director of the Office of Management and Budget, US News reported.

"This significant regulatory action was done without any opportunity for public comment from researchers, consumers and other stakeholders," the lawmakers say in the letter to Rosenberg. "This hasty decision could have serious effects on consumer access and choice of an internationally recognized herbal supplement."

Evidence exists that pot, kratom are effective against opioid abuse

The lawmakers are asking Donovan to overrule the FDA, which is acting under a rarely used emergency power allowing it to give just 30 days notice. The warned in their letter that the action "will put a halt on federally funded research and innovation surrounding the treatment of individuals suffering from opioid and other addictions."

And, in terms of treating those addicted to opioids, which everyone admits is a major problem, the move appears especially tone-deaf.

That's because a growing body of evidence also suggests that both marijuana and kratom are much better pain-relieving alternatives. For instance, this study, published this month in the American Journal of Public Health, found a 50 percent drop in the number of drivers between the ages of 21 and 40 who were involved in fatal car crashes and who tested positive for opioids in medical marijuana states (suggesting that pot use was curbing opioid abuse).

And there is this study from 2014, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, which found a 25 percent decline in the opioid death rate in states that made some pot use legal between 1999 and 2010. The reduction grew over the years after states legalized marijuana.

What's even more crucial, Vice notes, is that kratom does not seem to have the effect that frequently leads to death in an overdose situation: Slowing down respiration activity until it eventually stops altogether.

Leave it to federal drug bureaucrats in the Obama administration to ban it anyway.









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