Maine Legislature Could Make Controversial Drug Kratom illegal


The Maine Legislature is considering a bill that would make certain drugs illegal in Maine including Kratom, a drug that some heroin and opioid users consume to wean themselves off of opiates.

The FDA is warning consumers not to use any products labeled as containing the botanical substance kratom. Mitragyna speciosa, commonly known as kratom, grows naturally in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Serious concerns exist regarding the toxicity of kratom in multiple organ systems, according to the FDA.

Joshua Thompson started Maine’s first Kratom company and said the drug changed his life. He used to suffer from a substance use disorder, abusing opioids and opiates after herniating three discs and pinching a nerve in his back.

The Drug Enforcement Administration says consumption of kratom can lead to a number of health impacts including, respiratory depression, vomiting, nervousness, weight loss, and constipation. Kratom has been indicated to have both narcotic and stimulant-like effects and withdrawal symptoms may include hostility, aggression, excessive tearing, aching muscles and bones and jerky limb movements.

The bill in Legislature would classify Kratom as a Schedule W drug. Schedule W drugs in Maine include methamphetamine, cocaine, heroin, and other hallucinogens.

The DEA says the identity, purity levels, and quantity of these substances are uncertain and inconsistent, and therefore they pose significant adverse health risks to users.

Thompson agrees and said Kratom needs to be regulated because some people are combining it with other substances, making it potentially deadly. He said that modifying creates a stigma around a drug that he says changed his life.


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