The Drug Enforcement Administration is saving all of our lives by banning yet another ridiculously safe substance: kratom.
Kratom isn’t as well known as marijuana but the two drugs are about to be put into the same schedule by the DEA, which I would agree with if that schedule was “don’t waste your time banning this”.
Full disclosure, I haven’t done kratom, although I’ve been planning to and I will because fuck the DEA. It’ll be legal until the end of the month so for safety’s sake let’s just say I plan to do it before then.
To be fair, kratom doesn’t show up in a general drug test so for other users who don’t publicly advertise that they’re drug users, the chances of getting caught are only slightly higher than the chances of dying.
I know what you’re thinking. This must be an epidemic. The DEA wouldn’t step in if this weren’t a problem. You damn liberal stoners are letting hundreds of people die because of these drugs!
15 people have died in the US over the last two years from kratom. That’s a little more than 1 every two months. For reference, 32 people have died from being struck by lightning in the year 2016. Biased numbers, you say? I would agree. The idea that 15 people have died from kratom is pretty ridiculous when you consider that number comes from the DEA.
If I was a DEA official and I saw marijuana about to be taken off of the list of drugs I could lock people up for, I’d be a little concerned about my job. So, as the movement started growing to legalize pot, I’d be searching for a replacement that could save me from getting caught up in a layoff. If 15 deaths in two years is enough to justify ruining an unknown number of lives, I would do it to save my paycheck.
This is assuming I have no moral code and would lock people up for drug use in the first place, but you get the idea.
The DEA press release says that in part this decision was made because the substance can be inconsistent in purity and quantity. This would be justification to regulate it more carefully, but instead the immediate reaction was to ban it.
Kratom is one of those substances that is used by people who have trouble affording medical treatment. It has some of the same effects as opioids and I have friends who swear on their eventual graves that it’s good for pain and depression as well (meaning that until we get single payer healthcare you’re going to see millennials not giving a shit about the DEA for our own survival).
Thailand tried to ban kratom in 2010 and regretted it by 2013 when they realized that destroying the plant also meant destroying large parts of their rainforest, and even that was ineffective. Thai culture rejected the kratom ban in a similar way that American culture has rejected the US marijuana ban. Malaysia also currently bans the drug.
Basically, the DEA is replacing their unfounded ban on marijuana with an unfounded ban on kratom. The good news? Marijuana legalization is so much of a given that the DEA knows that battle is finished. The bad news? Kratom users have to pick up the revenue that marijuana users are going to be off the hook for.
If you’ve never tried kratom, you have until September 30 to do it legally, and I recommend it. It could take a while for the DEA to reverse this decision.