The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) currently doesn’t want to hear dissenting opinions on its decision to temporarily ban Kratom, a plant substance found in energy drinks and tea.
DEA officials filed a Notice of Intent Tuesday in the Federal Register stating that they were temporarily classifying mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, the chemicals properties in Kratom, known as Mitragyna speciosa, as a Schedule I narcotic.
The scheduling will go into effect Sept. 30. The nation’s top drug-related law enforcement body will disregard any input from concerned parties or independent scientists prior to the ban.
Kratom is known to help people living with chronic pain and is promoted by drink company Vivazen, which markets its beverage as a “herbal dietary supplement.” The plant is also sold as a powder and a pill, which can give users an energy boost, not unlike caffeine, according to FOX 13 Salt Lake City. Kratom, is also known to help recovering heroin addicts when administered carefully.
Typically when temporarily banning a drug, according to the notice and comment requirements of Section 553 in the Administrative Procedure Act (APA), the DEA allows interested parties to present their own findings and ask questions. When it comes to Kratom though, the DEA stated in its own Notice of Intent that officials believe, “there is good cause to forgo the notice and comment requirements of section 553.”
The Notice of Intent states that according to the DEA, “any further delays in the process for issuance of temporary scheduling orders would be impracticable and contrary to the public interest in view of the manifest urgency to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety.”
DEA National Spokesman Rusty Payne at least signaled intent to speak to experts when talking to the The Daily Caller News Foundation, “I’m sure there will come a time when they will have that opportunity, particularly when it comes to permanent scheduling; but right now this is viewed as an imminent public health and safety threat and that’s the step we took.”
Payne denied the DEA would make an uniformed decision when it comes to permanent scheduling and deflected to the Food and Drug Administration, “that’s a question for the FDA, the FDA determines whether or not something is a medicine, not DEA.”
Payne stated that issuing a temporary ban on Kratom is simply the DEA’s “responsibility under the Controlled Substances Act. We take a look at the data that we get, [and] when we see something that threatens the public, that is being abused, that is being mislabeled, that is being marketed as a medicine, when it’s not approved as a medicine.”
“There’s too many unknowns as the order said, to allow this to continue to take place” the DEA national spokesman continued.
Payne ultimately justified the temporary ban, by stating that in the opinion of the DEA, “what it does, is it gives us up to three years to get the research, to get the necessary data so that a lot of the unknowns, hopefully, are better understood, to make a decision about permanent scheduling. Anytime we use our temporary scheduling authority, it’s done because there’s something that represents a risk to the public health and safety, that’s why we did it.”
American Kratom Associaton’s (AKA) Susan Ash told TheDCNF that any sort of high from the chemicals of the plant are “nothing close” to a heroin high. The DEA’s decision to temporarily ban Kratom comes in the wake of Arkansas banning the two main components in Kratom on February 1, 2016. According to the AKA, Kratom is also banned in Alabama, Indiana, Tennessee, Vermont, and Wisconsin.
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