A final decision on the legality of a controversial drug is expected imminently from the US government.
The drug, called Kratom, has pitted government regulators against scientists and advocates. The Food and Drug Administration has called it a dangerous opioid and sought to ban it by making it a Schedule 1 drug like heroin or ecstasy. Some advocates say it’s helped them end their addiction to opioids, and scientists want to keep exploring its potential as a medical treatment.
Right now, researchers at the DEA are evaluating the two main components in kratom. They’ll either rule the same for both ingredients, effectively banning all forms of kratom nationwide, or they’ll ban one and make the other potentially available as a medicine at a later date. That’s according to Melvin Patterson, a spokesperson with the Drug Enforcement Administration who described the ruling as forthcoming.