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Speaking Up For Kratom

June 27, 2023

Raising hands and voicesWhen kratom comes under attack, you can count on normal, everyday citizens to rise to its defense. These aren’t activists or political operatives, but rather ordinary people who genuinely have experienced life-changing benefits thanks to kratom.

They are military veterans and law enforcement officers. Doctors and nurses. Scientists and seniors. They are the very people our society trusts the most to protect us, heal us, and teach us. Each individual voice matters, and together, they cannot be ignored.

These kratom supporters spoke up loudly in 2016, helping to thwart a federal kratom ban by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). They also responded in 2021 when the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requested comments regarding kratom’s abuse potential, medical usefulness, and the potential impact of scheduling kratom as a controlled substance.

Tens of thousands of kratom testimonials have been shared with our government agencies. Thankfully, these stories have had a huge impact on kratom policy decisions.

Opposing the DEA Kratom Ban

The DEA solicited public comments in 2016 prior to enacting their intended federal kratom ban. This was likely a mere formality on their part, a pesky requirement of the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) they had to endure before implementing their decision anyway. They couldn’t possibly have expected the overwhelming flood of support that kratom received from the people.

Over 23,000 comments were submitted, almost unanimously (99.1%) opposed to a kratom ban. For comparison’s sake, when the DEA was rescheduling the painkiller hydrocodone, they only received 500 comments.

The American Kratom Association (AKA) and the American Coalition of Free Citizens (ACFC) conducted a comprehensive analysis of every one of these public comments. They determined that of all respondents who listed a profession, almost half (48%) were either military veterans, law enforcement officials, health care professionals, or scientists.

This review found the following percentages were opposed to a kratom ban:

  • Overall: 99.1%
  • Veterans: 99.8%
  • Health care professionals: 98.8%
  • 55 years or older: 99.9%

The consensus was clear: Don’t mess with our kratom.

And surprisingly, they didn’t. This swift public backlash led to some major backtracking by the DEA. Their original Notice of Intent to schedule kratom had been published on August 31, 2016. It was formally withdrawn on October 13, 2016.

In less than two months, the will of the people had prevailed. When announcing their withdrawal decision, the DEA stated:

“Since publishing that notice, DEA has received numerous comments from members of the public challenging the scheduling action and requesting that the agency consider those comments and accompanying information before taking further action.”

Such a reversal is not common. In fact, as reported by The Washington Post at the time, John Hudak of the Brookings Institution called this move “shocking.”

“The DEA is not one to second-guess itself, no matter what the facts are,” Hudak stated.

In this case, however, the fact that so many people shared so many powerful stories did matter.

Kratom Testimonials

TestimonialsCheck out just a few examples of some kratom testimonials provided to the DEA and FDA.

2016 Public Comment Excerpts 

“Please keep kratom legal and available. I am a veteran of both Iraq and Afghanistan, and I've struggled with alcoholism and depression. Kratom helps people feel a sense of well-being and has become very popular in the veteran community. I have personally been helped immensely by kratom, and it gives me a great deal of motivation. I have used kratom regularly since 2012, and in that time, I have maintained excellent health, regular exercise, held a challenging job, and have been a great father. Kratom helps me lead a better life.”

“As a psychiatric and operating room nurse, I have seen multiple instances where kratom was used to significantly dampen opioid cravings and help with staving withdraw symptoms. Kratom has also been instrumental with many patients to help manage depression appropriately. Lastly, as a nurse I have seen patients who suffer with fibromyalgia learn to manage their pain with kratom and exercise without using opioids. Kratom should be legal and available to the public in this HCP's opinion.”

“I am a 43 year old mom and my family is intact today because kratom saved my life. Before I started kratom, I was hooked on pills and suicidal. Today, I'm a productive human that wants to live. My three sons are thankful that kratom saved their mom. Kratom saves and changes lives.”

“Before this herbal supplement, I was an anxious mess. Since I found kratom, I've been able to come off anxiety medication completely and introduce myself to and become a functioning member of this society. Please don't take this away from me. It has completely, totally and utterly changed my life. I perform surgery for a living, and this herbal supplement truly helps me clear my mind so I can save lives.”

“I was only 19 years old when I was diagnosed with spinal cord cancer. After surgery, I recovered quickly and felt back to normal. About 18 months after the surgery, I began experiencing chronic pain. This pain worsened as time progressed. I found out about kratom after I experienced the worst pain of my life for a week straight. I was unable to sleep more than 2 hours each night of the week and pain meds were not doing anything. I have been taking kratom for 5 months now, and my pain medication dose has gone from 15mg of oxycodone per day down to no pain meds needed each day. I have a social life, I play softball, I am married, and I am about to pass my last CPA exam. I also work 30 hours per week while attending 3 graduate level accounting classes per week. I graduated at the top of my class for my undergraduate degree, and I owe a lot of this to kratom. I have become a productive member of society and I do not want this to change. I am finally happy with my health and my overall well-being."

“I have a crushed vertebra and I take kratom to ease the pain. With kratom I am able to do household duties that would normally cause pain from standing for periods of time. I have been doing this for the past 4 years without any adverse side effects.”

“I am also a recovering alcoholic and someone who suffers with bouts of debilitating depression and anxiety. Since I discovered Kratom three years ago my quality of life and overall level of functioning has significantly improved.”

“Kratom has been an absolute god send! I have severe social anxiety, to the point of not wanting to leave my house or interact with others in general, and kratom has helped me become a functioning member of society.”

“I have suffered for the 54 years of my life with migraines, some so bad that I had to lay in bed all day. Nothing at all eased the pain until I tried kratom and I could not believe it! This is the only thing that has ever helped!”

2021 Public Comment Excerpts

“I am a 49-year-old schoolteacher. This amazing botanical saved my life. In 2000, at the age of 28, I was diagnosed with Degenerative Disk Disease and Spinal Stenosis. At that point in time, my quest to find pain relief was not very successful. I tried many modalities, but the one thing I DID NOT want to try was narcotic pain pills. By 2011, I was at my wits end. I was close to losing my job from being out sick with back pain all the time. I used every single sick day I had from 2000 – 2011. With no more sick days to use in the winter of 2011, I knew I had to do something. I started joining groups and forums dedicated to kratom use. I did my homework as any good teacher would do and came across a reputable source based in the United States. Using an online recipe, I brewed a cup of tea with just a few grams of this powdery substance that tasted terrible! I forced it down and within 30 minutes I couldn’t believe it. For the first time in eleven years, I was able to get up and walk around without pain. I have not taken a spinal pain related sick day in a decade! This is a simple matter of achieving a state of well-being and getting the pain relief we deserve as human beings. There is no “high”. There is no “euphoria”. I have never experienced any type of “withdrawal” upon cessation. Quite frankly, kratom saved my life!”

“Kratom is not a controversial or illegal substance. It is used now and has been used for centuries as a medicinal supplement. There is absolutely no justifiable reason to ban or criminalize kratom as it stands today. There is every reason to regulate its quality so it's safe for consumers. I personally take kratom daily for chronic neck and back pain for degenerative disk disease. I do not want to be put on pharmaceutical grade opioids to manage my pain.”

“I am a 100% disabled veteran with chronic pain. I depend on kratom for a quality of life I have been unable to obtain with pharmaceuticals. I have been taking the same dose (3 grams 2-3 times a day) for 3 years without any ill effects. I do not experience any withdrawals except that my pain comes back. Banning kratom would take away my quality of life. It would also take away the quality of life for many small farmers in Southeast Asia that depend on kratom crops for their economic survival. I support regulation to make sure that kratom is safe for consumption.”

“I have been regularly using kratom to help treat chronic pain in my left hip. As a child, I was diagnosed with Legg-Calve Perthes Disease (a degenerative bone disorder that targets the ball and socket joint of the hip). I spent most of my childhood on crutches with braces on my legs. At 9 years old, I had an experimental osteotomy surgery on that hip and eventually 2 full hip replacements (both on the left hip). While the hip replacements should have alleviated the pain, they did not. I still have moderate pain in my hip daily with regular bouts of severe pain. I have tried ibuprofen, acetaminophen, hydrocodone, and tramadol to combat the pain. Ibuprofen or acetaminophen doesn't help much. The opioids do help with the pain, but I have been trying to eliminate these chemicals from my daily intake. With that, I found kratom. Kratom has been very effective in helping with my daily pain management. And it's all natural, which is great! I've been using kratom for about 2 years now. It's really helpful. It's inexpensive and easy to buy both locally and online. There are a lot of people out there with chronic pain who have experienced the same benefits. Let's please keep it legal. Without it, I'm back to the opioids.”

“I have had multiple bone tumors, over 7 surgeries, and suffer from sometimes debilitating pain from joint damage as a result. Kratom helped me get off of all opiates and other hard drugs. Prescription pain medicine from doctors caused me long term suffering, devastation, and severe health consequences. The plant has literally helped me save my life! I am able to sleep, exercise (cycling, light weights, and yoga), and have lost over 100lbs. I have never been so healthy and happy in my life!”

Final Comment

These kratom consumers are your family, friends, and neighbors. They are responsible and productive members of society who simply want to improve their quality of life. Their stories are personal, yet they represent millions of others who have dealt with similar circumstances and have found the answer they’ve been looking for in kratom.

The impact that kratom has had on people like these is profound. So, too, is the impact these people have had on kratom legislation. Their voices have played an important role in changing the perception of kratom, and they even contributed to keeping kratom legal against all odds. By speaking out about their experiences, they have helped save the plant that has saved each one of them.

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