Saturday, November 25, 2017

Kratom Krisis

Alright folks.  If you follow my Twitter posts at all, you're probably sick to death of hearing about the impending attempt to ban/schedule kratom.  I apologize for the myopic tunnel vision, but once again the FDA/DEA are clamping down on the right of consenting adults to ingest safe, legal plants in the privacy of their own homes.  And we can't have that.

Around September of last year, the DEA backed off their plan to emergency schedule kratom after being flooded with public comments on how the plant has saved & transformed lives.  This was an unprecedented event in DEA history--never before had they changed course on a proposed ban & taken feedback from actual users of a substance.  Since then, the only thing that has changed is that kratom has become even more popular & more people have discovered its benefits.  But you wouldn't know that from listening to mainstream media.

Suddenly there were two reports of deaths caused by kratom--one involving a police officer who died of pulmonary edema (bleeding of the lungs, which could've only been caused by kratom if he inhaled a lot of it)  Within weeks, this number had climbed to 36 deaths directly caused by kratom!  Very little information was given about the alleged victims--their names & autopsy reports remain difficult to track down.  But the common thread is that all involved drugs other than kratom and/or serious underlying health conditions.  Any death in which kratom is present in the bloodstream is being attributed to kratom alone, something the American Kratom Association blames on a "shadow campaign" between coroners, the media & other entities who wish to demonize the plant.  (Coroners are elected officials; not unbiased medical professionals).

Sure enough, a week or so later we get an announcement by FDA sleeze Scott Gottlieb that the FDA is stopping imports of kratom & plans to work with the DEA to get the plant scheduled in the near future.  You may have heard about Gottlieb's ties to GlaxoSmithKline as well as Cephalon: the company that manufactures fentanyl lollipops & played a large role in flooding the legal Rx market with the drug during the height of the "Prescription Drug Epidemic".  Fentanyl is active in microgram amounts, making it more deadly than oxycodone, morphine, Dilaudid or even heroin.

So what could be Gottlieb's motivation for banning a benign plant like kratom?  Could it be the same reason that cannabis & other plant-based substances have been placed in Schedule I & other restricted classes over the years?  Not because it's deadly & has no medical benefit, but because you can't patent a plant.  What you CAN do, however, is tinker with the alkaloids found in kratom, switch them around a bit & patent whatever Frankenstein drug you end up with.  Like they did with Marinol, a synthetic form of THC that causes hideous side effects & has even killed 4 people.  Or how they isolated morphine & codeine from the opium poppy, banning the poppy/opium itself when it's far harder to overdose on whole opium than from one of its pure isolates.  Or how they placed the iboga root in Schedule I when it's been proven to alleviate serious drug addiction after only 1 or 2 uses.

The list could go on & on.  Bottom line:  If you're going to treat pain, addiction or any other ailment, you're going to do it with one of their synthetic, patented medicines.  Case closed.  Not the cheaper, superior & safer plant from which it was derived.  Kratom is a threat to their bottom line.  It directly competes with a number of their drugs currently on the market, including the following:

- Pain medications (opioid-based drugs like hydrocodone; NSAIDs like Celebrex)
- Addiction drugs (methadone, Suboxone, Antabuse, Bunavail, etc)
- Antidepressants (Prozac, Cymbalta, Trintellix, Latuda)
- Anxiety medications (benzodiazepines like Xanax & Ativan; "others" like BuSpar & Vistaril)
- Sleep aids (Ambien, Lunesta, Seroquel, Trazodone, tricyclic antidepressants, etc)

If that wasn't enough, kratom also competes with alcohol, tobacco & (legal) cannabis for the recreational market, which probably doesn't make those guys too happy.

Folks, I'm extremely angry that my government would take away things that are a basic fundamental human right.  Banning plants, which are a natural resource available to all, is the height of sociopathic narcissism.  Our country has been taken over by Mr. Burns-esque corporate overlords who care only about profits.  I use kratom daily to treat pain caused by endometriosis, chronic migraine & several mental health disorders including depression & OCD.  Not that kratom's a cure-all.  I still take prescription meds for these conditions, go to counseling & try to live healthy on a day-to-day basis.  It's not easy but I'm proud of the progress I've made with the help of kratom.  I work a steady job, pay my own bills, pay taxes & contribute to society instead of being a drain on it. 

But if you take kratom away from me, I will be back on opiates & on welfare/disability again.  You can't work a job that drug tests when you use opiates that aren't prescribed to you.  But you also can't function with chronic pain so severe it's a struggle every day just to avoid shooting yourself.  If you take away my kratom, you will leave me with these two gruesome options.  You will be taking the stability that I've worked so hard to achieve.  And I know there are thousands, if not millions, of other people in the same boat.  It appears that you also want to place CBD back in Schedule I for some godforsaken reason, which just proves how ridiculous this whole crusade is.

It's time for people to wake up & stand up for their rights.  We cannot let them turn this great nation into a giant prison yard full of well-intentioned mentally ill, drug addicts & chronic pain sufferers just trying to make it through the day.  If you'd like to get involved in the fight for this fundamental personal liberty, you can do so in a few ways:

- Donate to the American Kratom Association or Botanical Education Alliance.  These are two well-organized lobbying groups that have done much to keep kratom legal for this long.  Every dollar helps.

- Call your senators & congressmen & and tell them why you are AGAINST a ban on kratom.  (If you don't use kratom, just inform them of the current situation & why you oppose a ban).  Don't be nervous--just write out a short list of things you want to say & give them a call.  It's what they're there for.  😁

- Sign the many online petitions to keep kratom legal.

- Join the AKA's social media campaign using the hashtags #iamkratom & #keepkratomlegal.

- Write respectful, intelligent refutations to online articles that contain falsehoods about kratom, such as those claiming that kratom has caused 36 deaths.  Remember to avoid using curse words or slang & stick to the facts.  

We need all hands on deck for this, as it is looking like a concerted effort to ban kratom for good.  Even if you don't use it yourself, it's the principal of personal liberty that's at stake.  Many good people will revert to drug abuse, disability, suicide & other horrific avenues if kratom doesn't remain legal & accessible to all.  

Thanks for reading this far.  

/steps off soapbox (for tonight)...

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