Briefly Noted

Kratom and the DEA: so far, so good (and a reason to thank Sen. Hatch)

By Alice Toler

Startled by the immediate and widespread opposition to their proposed emergency ban of kratom in the fall of last year, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) backtracked on the action and opened a 45-day public comment period that ended on December 1.

That action can be attributed in part to Utah Sen. Orrin Hatch, who has led the charge opposing the  the ban.
A reported 23,611 people submitted comments, and of those, 99.1% opposed the ban. 48% of those listing a profession in their comment were veterans, law enforcement officials, health care professionals and scientists; 98.7 % of those commenting opposed the ban, with 99.8% of veterans opposing it. Of those identifying their age, 21% were 55 years or older, and 99.9% of this group opposed the ban.

In fact, of the 23,116 comments, only 113 supported the ban.

Additionally, the American Kratom Association (AKA) polled 105 emergency room professionals and found zero reported cases of deaths related to kratom. Dr. Jack Henningfield, vice president of Research, Health Policy and Abuse Liability at Pinney Associates compiled a comprehensive report for the AKA that found that the coffee-like herb kratom has little potential for abuse and dependence.

At the time of this writing, the DEA has not released any further information regarding its intentions towards kratom. But for once, we feel confidence with Senator Hatch on our side.

This article was originally published on March 8, 2017.