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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) is calling for the U.S. to legalize currently illicit drugs.
“If we take that step to legalize and regulate, then we're no longer treating people who are struggling with substance addiction and abuse as criminals and instead getting them the help that they need,” the 2020 presidential candidate said at a campaign stop in Merrimack, New Hampshire on Friday.
She was responding to a voter who asked whether her plan to end the war on drugs centered on more harm reduction and treatment or if it involved moving to “legalize and regulate narcotics so that you're no longer seeing tainted drugs on the street...and involvement in the black market.”
The congresswoman replied that her answer was “all of the above.”
September 27, 2016 at 3:01 p.m. EDT
A bipartisan group of 51 U.S. representatives is asking the Obama administration to reconsider a unilateral move by the Drug Enforcement Administration to ban the drug kratom, a plant whose opiate-like effects are making it an increasingly popular alternative for treating pain and drug addiction.
The DEA recently decided to place the drug kratom into schedule 1 of the Controlled Substances Act, the most restrictive regulatory category, "to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety." The ban is likely to go into effect on Friday.
"The DEA’s decision to place kratom as a Schedule I substance will put a halt on federally funded research and innovation surrounding the treatment of individuals suffering from opioid and other addictions — a significant public health threat," the letter states. Mitigating the effects of the national opioid epidemic -- which along with heroin killed close to 30,000 people in 2014 -- has been a major goal of the Obama administration's drug policy.
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