Impending Ban On Herbal Painkiller Kratom Could Hamper Research

September 30,016

This story was produced by Side Effects Public Media, a news collaborative covering public health.

As of September 30, a relatively unknown herbal supplement called kratom will likely join the ranks of Schedule 1 drugs in the U.S. — alongside drugs like heroin, LSD and marijuana.

This supplement has been traditionally used in Southeast Asia, but has recently gained popularity in the United States as a way to manage opioid withdrawal or chronic pain without the use of prescription medications.

Researchers and people using the herb decry the DEA’s move to criminalize it, which they say will stall research and deprive many Americans of a presumably harmless substitute to stronger prescription painkillers.

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