No, Kratom is not an opioid

The Food and Drug Administration’s crusade against Kratom is based heavily in bad science. And it’s going to make the nation’s continuing opioid crisis worse.

The FDA recently cited a whopping 36 deaths it associated with kratom use  in a statement declaring the plant which is popular among Americans looking for alternative pain and addiction therapies unfit for human consumption.

From FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb’s statement:

It’s very troubling to the FDA that patients believe they can use kratom to treat opioid withdrawal symptoms. The FDA is devoted to expanding the development and use of medical therapy to assist in the treatment of opioid use disorder. However, an important part of our commitment to this effort means making sure patients have access to treatments that are proven to be safe and effective. There is no reliable evidence to support the use of kratom as a treatment for opioid use disorder. Patients addicted to opioids are using kratom without dependable instructions for use and more importantly, without consultation with a licensed health care provider about the product’s dangers, potential side effects or interactions with other drugs.

In other words, kratom doesn’t have the medical establishment’s seal of approval– so if you use it for alternative health treatment, you will die.

More importantly, kratom will kill you because it doesn’t make any money for the pharmaceutical industry or the government regulators in its pocket.

Gottlieb admitted this outright, saying: “To date, no marketer has sought to properly develop a drug that includes kratom.”

Because “no marketer” in the pharmaceutical industry is trying sell you kratom, the FDA says it can’t properly determine whether the herbal substance is safe.

Plenty of scientists do, however, agree that kratom isn’t a dangerous drug.

Making it illegal may simply send people to the black market, as happened with alcohol after Prohibition a century ago. Responsible kratom policy includes regulation, not banning.

Second, as noted by nine scientists who signed a letter to Opioid Crisis Team Leader Kellyanne Conway and Acting Drug Enforcement Agency Administrator Robert Patterson, the FDA is using “bad science” by claiming kratom is an opioid.

In fact, according to these diverse and respected scientists, “We believe strongly that the current body of credible research on the actual effects of kratom demonstrates that it is not dangerously addictive, nor is it similar to ‘narcotics like opioids’ with respect to ‘addiction’ and ‘death,’” they wrote. “Equally important, four surveys indicate that kratom is presently serving as a lifeline away from strong, often dangerous opioids for many of the several million Americans who use kratom.”

The FDA’s patent dishonesty is like all lies  — it has a grain of truth. Kratom does offer some of the pain-reducing benefits of opioids. But unlike devastatingly addictive opioids, kratom is no more addictive than caffeine — something that is widely available and used every day by tens of millions of healthy Americans.

To quote the scientist’s’ letter, “…kratom has a long history of acceptably safe consumer use, and, when used as an alternative pain management therapy, kratom provides a far more favorable safety profile for consumers compared to more dangerously addictive and potentially deadly classical opioid medications.”

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