To no one’s surprise, the U.S. government, after hysterically declaring a “national emergency” over America’s opioid crisis, is once again setting its sights on Kratom, the non-addictive natural plant that has helped thousands of Americans wean themselves off opioids.
In 2015, the DEA announced its plans to place Kratom on the list of Controlled Substances (in the same scheduling level as heroin to be exact) but, amid public outcry, the agency backed off, deferring to FDA “review” and “advice.” Many optimistic Kratom activists were tempted to rest on their laurels, trusting that the FDA would prove to be more reasonable in relation to Kratom and hoping the testimonials, overwhelming public support for Kratom, and the science itself would win the day.
As is typically the case in life, the optimists were sorely disappointed.
The FDA, long known to be essentially run by Big Pharma, has now joined the ranks of the DEA (which also placed CBD oil on the list of controlled substances on the same level as heroin) in a scathing attack on Kratom, signalling that the end may be nigh for the miracle plant if activists do not succeed in fighting back both behemoth agencies who act as the enforcement arms of Big Pharma, the private prison industry, and the police state.
The Food and Drug Administration issued a strong warning Tuesday to consumers to stay away from the herbal supplement kratom, saying regulators are aware of 36 deaths linked to products containing the substance.
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But in a statement, FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb said that there is no “reliable evidence” to support the use of kratom as a treatment for opioid-use disorder, and that there are no other FDA-approved uses for kratom.
Rather, he said, evidence shows that the herb has similar effects to narcotics like opioids, “and carries similar risks of abuse, addiction and, in some cases, death.” He said that calls to U.S. poison control centers involving kratom increased tenfold between 2010 and 2015, and that the herb is associated with side effects including seizures, liver damage and withdrawal symptoms.
Virtually none of the scientists who are working with Kratom, however, share the same hysteria and apocalyptic concerns of the FDA, which itself has overseen massive outbreaks of death and addiction as a result of pharmaceuticals it has approved as safe. Indeed, many users of Kratom found the plant in order to ween themselves off the opioids that the FDA so delightfully approved and promoted. Now, with middle America in an alleged “crisis,” the FDA wants to remove one of the few helpful resources to getting clean. The DEA, of course, continues to hunt those same Americans as if they were deer during open season for imprisonment, harassment, fines, and/or on-sight executions.
It should be noted that the FDA’s claims of 36 deaths have been largely disproven before the FDA even made the claims, with many of those deaths attributed to people who had drugs in their system in addition to Kratom or who died of other causes.
Again, as the Washington Post reports,
Jack Henningfield, an addiction specialist who works at the drug policy consulting group Pinney Associates, which has done work for the American Kratom Association, said that surveys have shown that people using opioids to treat pain or satisfy an addiction were able to stop using them by drinking kratom tea. He argued that kratom’s “overall abuse potential and risk of death isn’t anything close to narcotics like opioids” and warned that restricting or banning the substance could drive some people back to opioids or onto the black market to get kratom.
In a study last year for the American Kratom Association, Henningfield, an adjunct professor of behavior policy at Johns Hopkins, found that effectively banning kratom “is not warranted from a public health perspective and is more likely to cause public health problems that do not exist.”
At worst, Kratom is only marginally addictive, with withdrawal symptoms similar to that of caffeine if taken in high doses for long periods of time . . . maybe. The overwhelming majority of Kratom users, however, do not report “withdrawal” symptoms at all.
Scott Gottlieb’s ridiculous rant about the dangers of Kratom is not based on science. It is based on the bottom line for the police state, Big Pharma, and the private prison industrial complex. Kratom threatens to reduce the amount of Americans slated to fill up jail cells, the dependency on pain medications, the use of SSRI’s and other anti-depressants. Therefore, like marijuana, Kratom has to be stomped out so the gravy train can continue un-interrupted for the Pharmaceutical and prison industries.
Now, as everyone paying attention to the Kratom debate and the current climate in the United States would have expected, an unelected, non-legislative body of totalitarians who claim non-psychoactive CBD oil is the same as heroin and whose entire existence depends on locking up peaceful people for possessing or consuming plants will likely ensure that thousands of Americans will be denied access to a life saving plant. Once more, many people will turn to heroin and other opioids and the DEA can continue to arrest them. Thousands of others will be forced to seek out permission and dictatorial authority figures that pass for doctors in order to kill pain and get through the day. And once they need more of those painkillers or seek out illegal alternatives, the DEA will be able to arrest them too.
The American Kratom Association has responded to the FDA statement with a statement of its own saying that, “For years, the FDA has published scientifically inaccurate information on the health effects of consuming kratom, directly influencing regulatory actions by the DEA, states, and various local government entities. It is inconceivable that the FDA would favor a policy that would foreseeably force a patient who [has] been weaned off of opioid [addiction] back to dangerously addictive and potentially deadly opioid prescription medications.”
Already, the FDA is intercepting shipments of Kratom. The hysterical and, quite frankly, idiotic statement from Gottlieb signals dark days ahead for Kratom users, former drug addicts, sufferers of chronic pain and depression. But these will be dark days for more people than Kratom users. Every American citizen, forced to live under the stifling anathema to freedom known as the drug war will have no choice but to continue to reside amid mass incarceration, forced medication, and needless suffering and will most likely do so for years to come.
The U.S. government is making America many things but great isn’t one of them.
Support the American Kratom Association in their upcoming legal battle for civil liberties and health freedom. www.AmericanKratom.org
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