DEA Reverses Kratom Ban (for now) in Stunning Victory Against the War on Drugs
In a stunning reversal, the DEA has withdrawn its proposal to ban kratom and temporarily suspended efforts to make it a Schedule 1 drug. The move comes after an impassioned Internet-based protest by a decentralized network of advocates and activists who contend the southeast Asian plant has tremendous medicinal value. While not a permanent ruling, the reversal is extremely unusual for the government agency, which is known for aggressive enforcement of its drug policies.
DEA spokesperson Melvin Pattersonconfirmed that the intense public reaction fueled the decision. “That was eye-opening for me personally,” he said.“I want the kratom community to know that the DEA does hear them. Our goal is to make sure this is available to all of them.”
The suspension will allow for an extended timetable for public feedback and further analysis. This will include an evaluation of mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A small team of government scientists will now determine whether Americans are allowed to use a curative herbal remedy that has been safely ingested for thousands of years.
The August announcement of the ban came as a shock to many. As Anti-Mediapreviously reported, communities around the country responded forcefully through social media groups and online publications. The American Kratom Association launched a National Call To Action. Patients and researchers testified that kratom helps to curb opioid addiction and withdrawal. U.S. lawmakers, including 51 representatives and nine senators, applied additional pressure, aware the move coincided with a heroin and prescription painkiller epidemic that has already claimed thousands of lives. The ban struck a nerve deep within an American public already incensed over decades of the drug war.
Researcher John Hudak of the Brookings Institute says the withdrawal is “shocking.”
“The DEA is not one to second-guess itself, no matter what the facts are.”