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CONTACT 13: Legal high kratom soon to be banned

Posted at 5:45 PM, Aug 30, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-30 21:55:32-04

A legal high sold in smoke shops, health food stores and online is about to banned. 

As Contact 13 reports, the feds say yet another substance people turn to for pain relief poses an imminent hazard to public safety.

Kratom can be easily found at local smoke shops, but is just as dangerous as heroin, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

A plant product from a tropical tree in Southeast Asia, kratom produces an opioid-like effect. 

On Tuesday, the DEA announced its intention to make the active materials in the kratom plant a Schedule 1 controlled substance. That puts it in the same category as heroin, LSD and ecstasy. 

No prescriptions may be written for Schedule 1 substances. They're not readily available for clinical use. And, they can't be legally sold. 

Kratom is currently sold as a dietary supplement and many use it for migraine headaches or other pain relief. 

The DEA says it has a high potential for abuse and no safe medical use that's recognized in the U.S.

Though not previously illegal, kratom has been on the DEA's list of concern. 

The agency is aware of 15 kratom-related deaths in the last two years.