After the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) announced an “emergency” ban on kratom at the end of August, a spokesman for the agency said “our goal is to make sure this is available.” The spokesman, Melvin Patterson, also told The Washington Post kratom does not belong in Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, the law’s most restrictive category, even though that is where the DEA had just put it. Patterson added that kratom, which the DEA says has “no currently accepted medical use,” is “at a point where it needs to be recognized as medicine.”
Confused? You’re not alone, writes Jacob Sullum. The DEA’s ban on kratom, a pain-relieving leaf from Southeast Asia, shows how blithely and arbitrarily the government interferes with our freedom to control our own brains and bloodstreams.