Plant-based drug Kratom to be banned by end of September - Tucson News Now

Plant-based drug Kratom to be banned by end of September

(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The Drug Enforcement Administration is working to eliminate a plant-based drug they say is stronger than heroin - and it's being sold over the counter. 

Kratom is a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act, and has qualities similar to an opiate. 

Right now, the drug can legally be purchased. 

But early this month, the DEA announced it would ban Kratom by the end of the September.  

Friday is the last day anyone can buy it at a store.

Federal drug officials said Kratom has a high potential for abuse.

They said it has no current accepted medical use for treatment in the U.S., and it has a lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision. 

Frank's Smoke Shop in Tucson has been selling Kratom for years.

The store’s owner, Frank, said about 15 people stop in every day to pick it up.

When the ban goes into effect, he said he will lose a lot of money.

He’ll have to throw away his inventory and will lose all those customers.

“My customers say they are going back to their doctor to get a painkiller, they are upset because they don't like chemical, they don't like side effects and this gives them energy," he said. "Not like crazy energy, but like coffee energy."

Not only is he concerned about the money he will lose, but Frank also uses the drug to help with his pain.

“I see my customers, they are healthy. Personally I take it,” he said. “I have a lot of injuries in my body. I take a few capsules in the daytime [and] a few capsules before I sleep and I’m good, all my pain, gone.”

Arizona Poison Control said they have received seven calls related to Kratom since January 2015. 

The DEA reported they are aware of 15 deaths related to Kratom between 2014 and 2016. 

But many Kratom users say they don't believe that. 

Right now, a group of lawmakers are working to reverse the ban.

Copyright 2016 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved. 

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