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Popular herbal remedy for opioid withdrawal to be banned

(AP Photo)

A popular herbal remedy for opioid withdrawal symptoms is illegal as of Saturday.

Kratom is an evergreen plant native to southeast Asia. Opioid addicts say it helps ease withdrawal symptoms, including diarrhea and nausea. It’s also reputed to have opioid-like effects in large quantities.

However, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration, kratom has the addiction and abuse potential of drugs like heroin. Therefore, they’re reclassifying it as a Schedule-I drug alongside drugs like heroin.

Dr. Frank LoVecchio heads the Banner Poison and Drug Information Center. “The Food and Drug Administration is trying to get ahead of it,” he said.

“The Food and Drug Administration is trying to get ahead of it,” he said. “Why throw something on the shelf that’s not regulated?”

He also pointed out natural remedies are not always the way to cure things like addiction and there have been no recorded deaths from opioid withdrawal symptoms. “If you’re addicted to heroin – and you stop cold turkey – usually in about two days it’s over,” he said.

“If you’re addicted to heroin – and you stop cold turkey – usually in about two days it’s over,” he said.

The ban on kratom and its active ingredients is on until further notice.

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