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DEA to include Kratom as a Schedule I drug

Residents of North Carolina may want to be aware that the Drug Enforcement Administration released a notice on Aug. 31 stating that the drug Kratom will be named a Schedule I controlled substance. This drug, which is reportedly becoming increasingly popular, has mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, both of which have a high potential for abuse.

Kratom comes from a plant called Mitragyna speciosa and can be consumed several ways, including in powder form, as capsules, liquids and tablets. The drug is sold in some smoke shops and can be found online. In some cases, websites promote the drug as a natural herb that can be used for pain, diabetes and even to curb addiction. In its notice, the DEA also said that there was currently no acceptable medical use for mitragynine or 7-hydroxymitragynine. These addictive opioids can lead to adverse health and even death.

Even though the placement of Kratom in Schedule I is temporary, it will be considered similar to LSD, heroin, ecstasy and peyote, among other drugs. This means that starting Sept. 30 those who are caught in possession of Kratom face the same consequences as being found in possession of heroin or other Schedule I drugs.

Depending on the severity of a drug charge, the consequences could potentially include a jail sentence, a loss of employment and heavy fines. Depending on the situation, a criminal law attorney may assist in providing a strong defense against the charges if there is evidence that the accused unknowingly had drugs in their possession.

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