Many supporters of the drug Kratom are voicing their concerns, after the DEA says they plan to move the drug to Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, putting it on the same danger level as heroin.
The DEA says manufacturers and retailers have until the end of the month to get rid of the plant-based drug. New rules will kick in October 1st.
But as soon as the decision was made, many Kratom users and supporters came forward, saying that the drug helps them with their medical needs.
“Having it there for pain management and migraines is one of the biggest things I use it for,” said Valley user Janiece Rice. “It’s replaced all the prescription medications I was on.”
Rice says she stopped taking prescription drugs after both of her sisters died of prescription-drug overdoses.
Some people even claim it’s an alternative to opiate addiction.
The DEA says over the past 10 years they have seen a 1000 percent increase in emergency room visits related to the drug, and 15 deaths in the past two years.
The drug is sold as an herbal supplement, that does not have to go through the same process to get approval from the FDA.
“I think there needs to be more research,” said Rice.
There is an online petition in support of Kratom. It’s already had about 100,000 signatures. The group also plans to have a march on Capitol Hill in Washington D.C. this month.