Ohio Board of Pharmacy Pushes to Have Kratom Scheduled

A law library with marble busts

Even as states like Arizona turn to the Kratom Consumer Protection Act, states like Ohio are moving closer to Kratom scheduling. Driven largely by FDA stoked fears, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy has proposed making Kratom a Schedule 1 controlled substance within state borders, putting it on a level with dangerous opioids like heroin and other drugs like LSD. Far from protecting its citizens, this will increase the risk of unsafe Kratom usage and stymie research that could help point to sensible regulation.

Kratom in the USA

Native to Southeast Asia, the Kratom plant, or Mitragyna speciosa, is an evergreen tree that has enjoyed centuries of medicinal use by the people indigenous to the hot, wet rainforests it grows in.

Thanks to a smear campaign largely led by former FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, Kratom scheduling has become a hot button issue on the federal level and across several states. Based largely on suspect computer modeling and misrepresented statistics, Kratom has been portrayed as a dangerous opioid and an irresponsible party drug. Unfortunately, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy, despite refuting information from the American Kratom Association, other advocacy groups, and leading researchers, chose to follow the FDA’s lead and recommend scheduling Kratom.

Where the Science Fails

One of the justifications cited by the Ohio Board of Pharmacy is that there is limited research on its safety and efficacy. If that is a primary concern, however, it’s an argument for regulation, not scheduling, which essentially results in a ban on Kratom. Scheduled substances, particularly Schedule 1 substances, are vastly more difficult to perform approved research on. It will largely end the possibility of adequate research on Kratom in Ohio.

Meanwhile, the FDA’s 3-D modeling has a range of problems. In this form of study, the chemical shape of the active compounds in Kratom was compared to receptor sites to predict what the likely results in the body would be. The data output of a simulation, however, can only be as good as the data put in, and the FDA simulation’s data found precisely what they were looking for, raising the question of bias entering into the study, as it largely ignored previous research or the wealth of reports from users all over the world.

The statistics used to justify Kratom scheduling are also problematic. The statistics used by the FDA, Ohio Board of Pharmacy, and the National Institute on Drug Abuse all cite deaths in which Kratom was listed as a substance present in the decedent’s body, however, there have not been any deaths where only Kratom is present without other health conditions and substances that are attributable. This creates information that can be misleading at best.

Bowing to Pressure

The Board’s final report made it clear that substantial weight was given to derogatory information supplied by the FDA. While it was stated that all information, including that supplied by the American Kratom Association, was reviewed, it’s hard to read the final analysis as anything other than a repetition of the FDA’s stance, even over their own findings.

The entrance to a courthouse

The Fight Isn’t Over

In the end, the Ohio Board of Pharmacy, despite their own information stating it had potential to aid opioid cessation, chose to advocate Kratom scheduling over responsible regulation. That is not, however, the final word. The Board cannot unilaterally act. The proposed scheduling rules were submitted to Governor DeWine’s Common Sense Initiative. While the comment period with CSI is closed, the Governor does not serve in a vacuum, and you can still contact his office and voice your support for a better path forward through the adoption of the Kratom Consumer Protection Act.

If the Governor does approve it, the rules will then be sent to the Ohio legislature’s Joint Committee on Agency Rule Review. They will determine whether or not the Board of Pharmacy has the legal authority to issue a ruling on Kratom scheduling. There will be a comment period during which you can make sure the commission hears your voice on the subject.

Finally, you can contact your state legislators and talk to them about the Kratom Consumer Protection Act from the American Kratom Association. Campaign season is right around the corner, and the candidates, both those in office and those seeking to gain office, will be hitting the campaign trail to earn your votes. That gives you an opportunity to talk to them face-to-face about the importance of access to Kratom for responsible adults. Effective legislation could take Kratom scheduling out of the Board of Pharmacy’s hands and set a regulatory framework that allows safe access to pure, potent Kratom for adults.

Becoming an Advocate

Not sure how to help? It starts with being a responsible Kratom advocate. Make sure all your Kratom comes from a reliable supplier who delivers fresh, quality Kratom. Store your Kratom properly, and keep it away from areas where children or pets could gain access to it. Next, make sure you stay abreast of the latest developments in Kratom legality. Responsible producers like Kratom Spot and advocacy groups like the American Kratom Association provide news, legislative updates regarding Kratom scheduling, and opportunities for action at the local, state, and federal level.

Become an advocate for responsible Kratom legislation today.