DEA to ban Kratom by the end of the month

Kratom users are fighting the ban.

A little-known drug that some use for pain and others use for recreation is legal only until the end of the month.

It is known as Kratom and those who use it are fighting the ban.

The substance will soon be a Schedule 1 drug -- meaning it has absolutely no medical value. But some that use it claim Kratom can be taken as an alternative to pain medications and to heroin.

"The reward knocks it out of the ball park, the risk is really minimal and I swear by it," said Christopher Deoudes.

Deoudes uses Kratom, a legal drug sold locally but soon to be classified as a Schedule 1 drug.

"Most people will use it for pain, depression, anxiety, and PTSD," claims Deoudes.

Kratom has yet to be evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration and is labeled "Not for Human Consumption" when sold.  Deoudes began using the substance after a car accident left him in pain and says the drug helped him kick his dependence on strong pain medications.

"First day I took it I didn't wake up with any cold sweat," said Deoudes. "I got off the Oxycodone right away and I got back to my normal life literally within six days."

According to the Drug Enforcement Agency, Kratom is a tropical tree native to Southeast Asia. The DEA has reported several cases in which the substance has caused psychosis in users, in addition to other dangerous side effects.

"Kratom can have some opiod effects, where it creates a sense of pain relief but on the other hand it has stimulant effects which can cause people to have a really high heart rate and can also cause them to have really high blood pressure," said Rachel Porter, a captain with Ada County Paramedics.

Users like Deoudes argue that the drug should be researched more before being thrown into the same Schedule 1 category as heroin, LSD, ecstacy and marijuana. However, Porter doesn't recommend taking anything unless it is prescribed by a doctor. Whether claims of Kratom's health benefits are true or not, the drug will no longer be for sale after September 30th.

Copyright 2016 KTVB


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