KRATOM: THE TRUTH. An Open Letter to the FDA
You have been quite busy running a strong offensive against Kratom, the primarily Indonesian plant that you have labeled time after time as dangerous because of its “opiate like” qualities. You have called it a threat by citing deaths and salmonella outbreaks and whatever you can get your hands on to make your point. You have already try to ban it at the federal level, and since that has gone nowhere, you are now gone state by state, bill by bill, making sure this plant ceases to see the light of day.
I ask myself the question: Why are you so adamant about making sure that Kratom stays out of reach? As a recovering addict I am truly concerned, because if Kratom is anything like Heroin or Oxycodone or Fentanyl, we really need to take action, and we need to do it quick. You better than anyone know that the opioid epidemic is reaching new levels of destruction in our country, and we must do whatever is necessary to prevent it from growing.
Drugs Ruin Lives – This is a fact, no other way around it. I myself was involved in a ten-year self-destructive cycle, where alcohol and benzodiazepines and cocaine almost killed me after ripping away everything that I held dear. After being able to break the chains of addiction, I began to advocate for others, knowing how important it is to support those that are still imprisoned within its walls.
It was through some of the relationships that I made that I first heard about Kratom, a natural alternative that more than 5 million people use to deal with opiate addiction withdrawals, chronic pain and even mental illness. After hearing the stories of many that have used Kratom for many years, something simply didn’t match up with your claims, and I became intrigued. Does Kratom ruin lives like the other hardcore drugs do? Is there a real risk of death and overdose? How bad do withdrawals get? Are people who use it putting themselves at risk?
YES – Should have been most of the answers to the questions above if I only took into consideration your claims and the effort you are putting forth to ban Kratom, efforts worth of the most dangerous drugs on the planet.
I continued my research to uncover the truth, to really understand what the dangers and benefits were, where the global scale of risk vs reward came in with Kratom. I knew the best way to do this was to go to the source, to talk to the users that have experience first hand what this plant does.
What I was expecting to find? People whose lives were ruined by Kratom, who had lost everything because of it just like I did, just like others have on Crack and Xanax and Oxycodone. I was expecting to find lonely children because their Kratom addicted parents left them to go on a binge, broken spouses because their partners are not who they were before, homeless people because their Kratom addiction would not let them perform their jobs anymore.
But, did I?
I went online and found a community of Kratom users that were willing to share their stories and experiences with me. I really wanted to unveil the dark truth, the one you have been pushing for years. But the Reddit Kratom community was helpful in showing me something else, something much more different than I ever expected. This is their testimony:
I found kratom through a friend about a month after hospitalization due to alcohol abuse. That was September 2016 and I haven’t had a drink since, and no cravings. This was after 15 solid years of heavy drinking and intermittent drug use. I take kratom everyday and I truly don’t know where I’d be without it.
Prior to Kratom, I struggled through ten years of pain management. Epidurals, interdisc steroid injections, fentanyl patches, Kadian, Oxy, etc – monthly visits, monthly drug screens – and deep depression as the drugs worked less and the pain occupied every thought. Many days I considered ending it, because what was left? Ugh. Heard about Kratom and scoffed. It’s a herb. If Oxy doesn’t help anymore, how is a herb going to help me? That was two years ago. My life is transformed. Honestly, I’m dumbfounded. Then I think about the tens of thousands I spent on doctor visits, medication, hospitalizations, lost time from work – it’s no wonder the bean counters are worried. They see the end of the gravy train.
Had back surgery in 1999. Recovery took two years and included many types of pain pills. I could not do anything when I was taking those pills. I could not drive and I could not work. I mostly just slept. When I finally weaned off the pills and started exercising and got back to work I went back to work full-time for 15 years as a teacher.
About three years ago my back pain started kicking in again but it was a little higher up. Turns out the discs above the surgery were now giving out. The pain was brutal and they immediately wanted to put me back on pills. I have to admit I did take a few but I immediately was looking for some other way to relieve pain.
I googled natural pain remedies. I found kratom. I did a lot of research on it, probably two months worth, before I actually tried it. I’ve been taking it for four years now and have not had to take one pain pill. I do have other tools though I do acupuncture, meditation, I use gels, heating pads, ice packs, exercises, back supports, you name it but everything has to be natural.
Like pills, I do not think kratom is the answer to my pain problems. Kratom just helps take the edge off and helps me manage my pain it does not cure anything. And it must be respected. But it’s given me some very good days back and I’m self-sufficient and living on my own and getting by just fine.
I guess I’ll share my story. I wasn’t a full blown addict, but I was on that path. Before kratom I had been abusing opiates for a couple years. The reason I say I wasn’t a full blown addict is because I realized that if I took breaks, my tolerance didn’t build up. So anyway, I did that for years until I found kratom. The months before i found it, I had stopped using opiates just to get high. I was using them because I started becoming very anxious. It was getting to the point where I didn’t even enjoy it anymore because of it. I started looking for alternatives because I knew what was going to happen if I kept taking opiates. That’s when I found out about kratom. I have been taking it for years now, and it helps so much with my anxiety. I honestly don’t know what I would do without it. Probably go back to opiates, and that’s what terrifies me.
HERE IS ALL I KNOW:
In the years that I have been dealing with addiction and with addicts I have NEVER heard: “Cocaine saved my life”, or “Xanax makes me a better parent”, or “Heroin makes me a model employee” or “Crack makes my life extremely manageable”. Something with Kratom just doesn’t seem to fit the model of these hardcore drugs, the real danger to the communities of our great nation.
The truth is that Kratom is generally safe to use, and most of the people that do experience mostly benefits. There are those that have developed dependency after using it for some time, and quitting cold turkey can come with some slight withdrawals, including cold-like symptoms, irritability, lack of energy and in some cases anxiety. Experienced users advocate a “less is more” mentality with Kratom, and those that stick to their doses without unnecessarily increasing them have been able to enjoy the plant’s many benefits for years.
So, what could it be? What is the real reason behind your intense efforts of banning this seemingly beneficial plant? Could it be that you, the FDA, find yourself in the hands of Big Pharma, who sees Kratom as a danger, not to the community, but to their profits? I wonder if things go deeper than what they seem, if you are really telling us the entire truth. I have yet to know for sure, but I will keep digging, until I finally discover where that fishy smell is coming from.
Oh, and just so you know, I am now one of the more than 5 million Kratom users in this country, and I am very happy to be so.