By Triumph Kratom | November 03, 2019
Mitragyna speciosa, or kratom as it is popularly known, has become a notable natural product in the past couple of decades with more scrutiny placed on it in the United States. The tropical plant, which hails primarily from Thailand, has been a boon to the indigenous people of that country as well as others in Southeast Asia for its analgesic purposes. Records of its use from Western sources who visited the region date back to the middle of the 1800’s.
As its notoriety grew, kratom became available in the European Union and the United States thanks to an increased presence through various websites. Americans who were drawn to kratom initially purchased it online and in physical locations a little while after. This got the attention of federal entities such as the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Food & Drug Administration. A rash of incidents with users caused alarm, and the DEA made moves to classify kratom as a Schedule I substance in 2016. This action would have made kratom illegal across the country.
This kratom ban was halted after a public outcry from advocates for more research of kratom’s benefits went to the United States Congress to testify about their experiences. This prompted a group of congressional members to ask the DEA to reconsider. With that, state and local governments were left to chart their own course when it came to their constituents and kratom use.
Those living in Rhode Island first became acquainted with kratom along with other states in the country around 2010. Many gravitated to the natural product to get help dealing with discomfort that they had suffered in accidents or in the aftermath of medical procedures. Others began to consume kratom because they were hoping it would help them deal with the dangers of opioid medications.
But as usage grew across the country, there were expressed concerns by local authorities who saw incidents of kratom users getting sick due to their usage and by encountering tainted batches as occurred in 2014. The FDA’s release of a warning about kratom’s possible ill effects in 2017 became another spur for state legislative members to act definitively on kratom’s future in Rhode Island.
In May 2017, the director of health for the state recommended that kratom be added to the Rhode Island Uniform Controlled Substances Act. The ruling of the health board specifically targeted the two components that were deemed deleterious to users – mitragynine and hydroxymitragynine. This was in line with the FDA’s own published opinion.
However, there has been some work done by advocacy groups along with medical researchers that made an impact on a few members of the state legislative body. This has led to the introduction of House Bill 5542, publicly known as the Kratom Consumer Protection Act in February 2019. This bill bears some similarities to other states’ own legislation. The Rhode Island House bill would place guidelines for the responsible use of kratom only by those over 21 years of age and would require that those distributing kratom would be responsible for making sure it is clearly labeled. The bill was then recommended to be held over for further study, still leaving kratom as an illegal substance in Rhode Island for now.
For more information on kratom laws across the country, check out our Kratom Legality Map.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Adminstration. This product is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.