By Ginger Allen

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DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Some call it an herbal supplement, but the government may soon call it an illegal drug.

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In Texas, Kratom has been sipped, steeped, and swallowed legally for years.  It is used in liquid and powdered forms.

Friday, Kratom could be listed on the Drug Enforcement Administration’s list of banned substances. The DEA calls it “an imminent hazard to public safety.”

Alexis Turner uses it to help treat pain caused by health problems. She takes up to eight capsules each day which she says helps with pain.

She’s one of more than 130,000 people nationwide who has signed a White House petition asking the DEA to delay the ban on Kratom.

Kratom comes from a plant native to Southeast Asia. Many believe that it has medicinal value, but the DEA, in a press release says Kratom “has no accepted medical use” and that it “is often marketed as a legal alternative to a controlled substance.”

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Keller resident Anthony August is a veteran who uses Kratom for his back injury. He says banning Kratom is a big mistake. He believes it is a safe and natural alternative to morphine.

He led a protest in Southlake two weeks ago and says many more are planned around the country this week. “A lot of veterans really rely on this,” he told CBS 11 News.

In the last two years, the DEA has reported 15 Kratom related deaths nationwide, but Turner and August do not believe Kratom alone was responsible. They believe it is a lifesaver. “It’s given me my life back, “Turner said. “I don’t know what I’ll do if they ban it.”

The final order on this proposed ban is expected as early as Friday. More than 50 lawmakers have also signed a letter asking the DEA to reconsider the ban.

If Kratom is put on the controlled substance list, anyone in possession of Kratom will need to turn it into local law enforcement.

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