In ordinary times, there would be no question about whether a drug with opioidlike effects should be proven safe and effective and approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) before it is widely marketed. But these aren’t ordinary times and the herbal supplement kratom is not a typical drug.
In fact, the issue of whether or not to ban kratom is an excellent litmus test of whether the Biden administration will actually use the philosophy of harm reduction to guide drug policy—or just spout the trendy catchphrase as window dressing to hide ongoing engagement in the war on drugs.
An estimated 10–16 million Americans currently use kratom as an alternative to opioids, most commonly to treat pain or as a substitute for street drugs. The herb, formally known as Mitrogyna speciosa, has a centuries-long history of use in herbal medicine in Southeast Asia—notably as a substitute for opium.
Read the full article at Scientific American.