/ Modified may 24, 2019 4:43 p.m.

Federal agencies concerned about rise in kratom use

Hearing from the Drug Enforcement Administration in Tucson.

A new bill signed into law this session changes how the state regulates a natural substance called kratom. Kratom comes from the leaves of a tree by the same name that grows in Southeast Asia. In the U.S., it is unregulated and often marketed as an herbal supplement and a natural alternative to opioids. In April, Gov. Doug Ducey signed the Kratom Consumer Protection Act, which makes it illegal to sell to minors. The Drug Enforcement Administration and the Food and Drug Administration have raised concerns about kratom, mainly whether it is addictive or potentially deadly in high doses. Steve McGuigan with the DEA in Tucson spoke to Lorraine Rivera about the agency's stance.

"Right now, the DEA has taken a position that it is a drug of concern and something that we're looking at. What the DEA does is they look at what the FDA research has brought forward and they also have a public comment period," McGuigan said. "The FDA has stated there's no therapeutic use for kratom. And they believe that the use for opioid-use disorder, that people think they're getting off opioid-use disorder by using kratom, is a fallacy."

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