As the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) goes about its deliberate, unemotional process of turning the herb kratom into an outlawed substance, it is worthwhile to think about those who will suffer as a result of having one more aspect of their freedom removed.
An estimated 5.5 million Americans use kratom. We can only guess that half or more of this number use it as an alternative to various forms of synthetic pharmaceutical medicines. With the limitations the DEA has placed on doctors prescribing opioids, one might think that there would be some appreciation that Americans have found a safer, herbal helper for overcoming chronic pain and opioid dependency — a problem largely created by the pharmaceutical industry’s heavy marketing of opioids as minimally addictive pain relief in the 1990s.
And yet, the DEA has consistently portrayed kratom as a recreational drug, though it is hard to imagine a substance that is so unpleasant-tasting and inconvenient as kratom being as popular as this plant material is.
If kratom is to be considered a recreational drug, then perhaps we should view its sister herb coffee as a recreational drug, too.
One thing the DEA doesn’t seem to consider is that — although they proclaim that kratom has “no recognized medicinal uses”, many (most?) of those who consume it on a regular basis do so because, for them, it serves a medicinal purpose for them.
Most kratom consumers have tried the alternatives of modern medicines and found the side-effects intolerable, debilitating, and often deadly if one doctor prescribes a drug that shouldn’t be taken at the same time another drug that another doctor prescribes is taken.
In a random conversation as I was preparing this article, I mentioned opioid medications, and the woman I was buying my farm-fresh eggs from told me that one of her family members had died from an accidental overdose of properly prescribed opioid painkillers. Where is the DEA’s concern over those dangerous drugs?
The DEA evidently accepts deaths and disabling conditions caused by pharmaceuticals because the manufacturers have done extensive research (though much of it may be fraudulent ) and their paperwork appears to be in order.
You might say that, “Big Pharma has paid to play and kratom hasn’t, though considerable research exists and long historical use which vouch for kratom’s safety and medical benefits, although these have not been officially recognized by the FDA or DEA.”
And yet, the DEA goes to great lengths to accuse kratom of causing a few deaths — almost all of which occur in multidrug users who were taking substances known to cause death. Honest professional toxicologists have looked at these deaths and pointed out that in none of the cases was kratom found to be the actual cause of death.
But, if the DEA says so, to some official minds, it must be true. Federal rules require a suspension of disbelief, apparently.
Here, in the Real World, Real People will be hurt by an arbitrary ban on kratom and its key alkaloids, Mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine.
The availability of opioid drugs, which have been the mainstay of the medical treatment for pain over the past 20+ years, has been drastically reduced — even to those who obviously have medically recognized painful conditions. This sudden cutback has caused many chronic pain sufferers to look for alternatives, which led many to kratom, where — by most reports — they found a better quality of relief without the disabling lethargy, constipation, and brain fog commonly caused by opioids.
Ah,but nevermind that the pain patient prefers this herb over all the medications they’re tried! The DEA knows best what’s good for you — or so we are expected to believe!
How the DEA’s intent to Criminalize Kratom Will Harm Innocent Consumers
The story of Brian Butts reveals the fallacy of the DEA’s argument, which has insisted that kratom and its alkaloids are a substance of abuse that millions are taking because it offers a “legal high” or is in some way as strong or stronger than heroin, morphine and the rest of the opioid family. The truth is quite different.
Brian was born with a recognized, painful medical condition — a birth defect that surgery can’t fix and physical therapy can’t remedy. He will always need something to help with the pain. He could have legally-prescribed oxycodone, but he prefers kratom’s unique ability to remove pain without any noticeable mental or physical side-effects. (Please read his brief testimonial and view the pictures of his painful natural deformity in the link above.)
The truth is very different than the DEA’s “spin” which is used to demean this useful and uniquely different herb.
This recent study from Columbia University puts the lie to the DEA portrayal that kratom is a substance of abuse that has no medical benefit.
The truth, which the DEA and FDA seem to be trying so hard to disguise, is that millions of kratom consumers simply prefer the quality of relief that kratom, a very complex and balanced mixture of alkaloids, delivers over expensive and ultimately debilitating pharmaceutical painkillers derived from the poppy plant.
Objective observers have tried kratom and found nothing like a “high” in the herb. See the link to Huffington Post article below.
Kratom has proven itself a threat to the continued profits of the pharmaceutical industry and also the alcohol industry. This is the “crime” that kratom represents — the crime of revealing that Nature has provided us with a superior product that consumers report replaces a laundry list of synthetic and overpriced drugs.
Why shouldn’t we have the freedom to choose what works best for us? With more than 100,000 of us dying each year as a result of taking pharmaceutical, FDA-approved drugs in U.S. hospitals under controlled conditions, it would seem that we take a far greater risk with pharmaceuticals than we do with kratom.
With most kratom vendors making no medical claims for their product, as dictated by FDA regulations, why shouldn’t Brian Butts and millions of others be able to obtain the pain relief that works best for them — from Nature?
Who or what is the DEA protecting? It doesn’t seem to be the public’s safety or quality of life.
Millions of Americans will be harmed if the DEA is allowed by Congress to proceed with its egregious and unprecedented scheduling of kratom and its alkaloids on or about October 1st, 2016.
Please contact the American Kratom Association to learn how you can help preserve your access to this traditional medicinal plant.
Author Paul Kemp has been covering the kratom story for several years. He believes herbs, real food, and exercise are the true sources of health.
Contact the American Kratom Association to learn how you can help preserve the legality and access to this unique botanical.
See this Huffington Post article where the author tested kratom, looking for the “high” the DEAclaims is there — and his comical experience