Banning Kratom: Dozens of Congressmen Speak Out against Tyranny on Health*
By Matt Agorist
As the Free Thought Project reported earlier this month, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) announced they will ban the popular pain relief supplement kratom by placing it on the Schedule 1 list, which denotes
“no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse”
… the most restrictive classification under the federal Controlled Substances Act. However, the tyranny of the DEA is now being questioned by Congress.
According to US News, Reps. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., and Matt Salmon, R-Ariz., recruited 45 signers in the House of Representatives on Friday afternoon for two letters, which will be sent Monday to Chuck Rosenberg, acting administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Office of Management and Budget Director Shaun Donovan.
This move to ban yet another highly beneficial plant by the DEA has been met with heavy backlash and multiple petitions. The backlash is entirely justified as this plant has many amazing benefits — including a potential cure for opioid addiction.
“This significant regulatory action was done without any opportunity for public comment from researchers, consumers and other stakeholders,” the lawmakers say in the letter to Rosenberg. “This hasty decision could have serious effects on consumer access and choice of an internationally recognized herbal supplement.”
The DEA’s tyrannical move to ban this amazing and beneficial plant comes on the heels of peer-reviewed research showing that kratom could potentially be a much safer alternative to deadly prescription opioids.
The latest research indicates that the main component of the herb, the alkaloid mitragynine, and its metabolite and oxidation product, 7-hydroxymitragynine, produce an effect on certain opioid receptors separate from many of the mechanisms that precipitate many opioid side effects.
According to US News, preliminary scientific analysis shows that kratom, despite DEA concern about safety and anecdotal reports about dependence potential, could offer substantial harm reduction — particularly as accidental overdoses of opioids including legal painkillers and illegal drugs like heroin killed more than 28,000 in 2014 alone.
Countless patients currently using kratom to treat their heroin, alcohol, and cocaine addictions, fibromyalgia patients, and people with arthritis and cancer would no longer be able to use this plant — and instead be forced back into dangerous pharmaceuticals or the black market.
“I feel a lot of hope because the amount of congress people who are paying attention to this issue and the media and the public are really weighing in our favour – it’s finally coming to light who the average kratom consumer is,” Susan Ash, founder of the American Kratom Association consumer group, which organized a Sept. 13 protest at the White House, said to US News.
The DEA claims that 15 deaths were attributed to kratom last month. And, if this were true it is still far safer than alcohol, tobacco, or even Tylenol. However, it’s not true.
The AKA actually hired a toxicologist who reviewed the cases and found that there was no evidence to support the assertion and that most, if not all, of the deaths may have been tied to other drug use.
In a bald-faced lie, DEA spokeswoman Barbara Carreno explained that
“it’s not that the DEA is unsympathetic to people who have chronic pain or who are addicted to opioids. We are people just like everyone else who get in a car accident and break our femurs and get cancer and have surgery and are in need of pain medicine. … It’s just that science says this is a problem and we need to keep people safe.”
How, exactly, does declaring the highly beneficial kratom plant, shown to be magnitudes safer than synthetic pharmaceutical opioids and heroin, as having no medical value “keep people safe”?
The answer is simple — it does nothing to keep people safe. However, it does keep the DEA’s masters in the pharmaceutical industry safe.
As the legal pain medication epidemic sweeps the nation killing thousands every year and converting its users into heroin addicts, the pharmaceutical companies are scrambling to find an alternative. Kratom could be that alternative.
However, since kratom can be grown by anyone, pharmaceutical companies can’t monopolize it — unless the government outlaws it.
On September 30, kratom will be illegal, but the synthetic patented and monopolized version will not.
As the Free Thought Project pointed out, pharmaceutical companies have been studying kratom for years to create synthetic versions of its alkaloids.
One of the plant’s alkaloids is Speciofoline was granted a patent on August 10, 1964. The patent claims the “alkaloid has useful pharmacodynamic activity, particularly analgetic and antitussive activity.”
The patent was filed by Smith Kline, of Glaxo Smith Kline, and French Laboratories.
Aside from a patent on Speciofoline, US 20100209542 A1 is an application that was entered for University Of Massachusetts Medical School, University Of Mississippi in 2010. The application recognizes kratom as a treatment for opioid withdrawal. US 20100209542 A1 goes on to claim that kratom could be used to help withdrawals from other drugs as well.
If the DEA actually cared about the safety of Americans, the last thing they would do would push this plant into the black market where it is not put in check by consumers and ethical business practices.
As Ash points out, “A lot of people say they are scared to death of relapsing without [kratom], and if this ban goes through there’s going to be an illicit black market, and who knows what people are going to be putting into this product, so deaths are going to increase by that in itself.”
Not only will its ban push kratom into the black market, it will create an entirely new stream of revenue for the police state. The millions of innocent people who currently use kratom will be turned into criminals — literally overnight.
We can expect to see armed raids on cancer patients and other people treating their pain with this plant. We can expect to see asset forfeiture rise and general wholesale theft.
And all of this tyranny, prohibition, theft, and violence, will be deemed necessary — to keep you safe — in the Land of the Free.
View the letter from Congress to the DEA on SCRIBD.