WASHINGTON (AP) – U.S. health authorities say an herbal supplement promoted as an alternative pain remedy contains the same chemicals found in opioids, the addictive family of drugs at the center of a national addiction crisis.
The Food and Drug Administration analysis, published Tuesday, makes it more likely that the supplement, kratom (KRAY-tom), could be banned by the federal government.
The agency also said it has identified 44 reports of death involving kratom in the U.S., up from 36 reported in November. Regulators reiterated that there are no safe or effective medical uses for the substance, which is derived from a Southeast Asian plant.
Kratom remains legal under federal law. But the Drug Enforcement Administration is considering whether to place kratom in the same category of illegal drugs as heroin and LSD.