What is Kratom? Mitragyna speciosa or Kratom is a deciduous tree found in South EastAsia. Its leaves have been used as an herbal medicine for ages mainly in the form of a pain killer. So now the question arises, why is it banned? Well, along with its medicinal values, according to the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) these leaves when taken in very low doses behave as a stimulant and as a sedative, and a recreational drug when ingested in greater quantity.
The primary active chemicals are Mitragynine, Mitraphylline, and 7-hydroxymitragynine, which bind to opioidreceptors in the brain making this compound highly potent and addictive. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has warned the public of the potential health hazards related to the product and has empowered the authorities to seize all Kratom being marketed as dietary supplements. Which creates a reason to why there should not be government involvement.
This is the reason that Governments all over the world have reacted very strongly to the usage of this drug leading to it been banned in several countries.
States where Kratom is banned
All the above states have passed laws against Kratom because of the presence of controlled substances. States like Florida, Georgia and Kentucky are also taking this issue seriously and legislation has been passed in these states. Illinois has laws that ban its sale to minors while in Louisiana it is not considered safe for human consumption. Indiana considers it a synthetic drug.
Why is it banned is Alabama and what action has been taken?
In the past six months, there has been a surge in the use of Kratom in Alabama leading the State to impose a ban on Kratom in any form. Alabama District Attorneys Association Deputy Director Barry Matson said legal notices have been sent out by most counties stating the new law and a time period of 24-48 hours provided for the complete disposal of this highly potent drug with controlled substances. Matson stated there haven’t been any arrests so far.
Sen. Arthur Orr’s Stand against Kratom
Sen. Arthur Orr has sponsored the law in Alabama which classifies Mitragynine and hydroxymitragynine under Schedule 1 controlled substances. He stated in an email that family members of several users raised their concern on the impact of the medicine on their loved ones. They had in fact stated that it was appalling to note that such a potent drug was carelessly sold in gas stations providing an easy source for addicts.
Action taken by the Counties
Derrick Cunningham, the Montgomery County Sheriff stated that all the deputies have been briefed on the new law and have been empowered to take Kratom related products of the shelfs of stores.
In Jefferson County, Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Randy Christian echoed the same sentiments and said that the deputies will confiscate Kratom related products and if need be will even make arrests.
Kratom advocates speak
The ban by the State was not taken lightly by the American Kratom Association. They claim that the plant is safe for use and has several beneficial uses in treating pain and providing relaxation. According to them the drug is a better alternative to the harmful effects of painkillers.
Susan Ash, director of the American Kratom Association, didn’t take it lying down and fought against the bill signed by Gov. Robert Bentley on Tuesday – which states that the chemicals found in Kratom are found on the controlled substances list. She stated that a useful product is been unfairly criminalized, thus preventing several people from been benefitted from its use. According to her, this medicine will reduce the dependence on known opioids.”Freedom of choice of a better, safer form of natural medication lost out,” Ash said in an email.