“I don’t have a timetable. It could be this week, could be in the future, I just don’t know.”
The DEA recently changed direction on their decision to add kratom to the schedule one controlled substance list alongside another inappropriately placed natural substance. Despite no more than anecdotal evidence to support the thin claim that kratom is an “imminent hazard to public safety,” the DEA was standing its ground(what many were calling clear bias in favor of Big Pharma from what is supposed to be an impartial government institution) yet is now beginning to waver under massive public scrutiny.
It is not hard to see the absurdity in labeling kratom a hazard to public safety when this country is experiencing an unprecedented epidemic of opiate addiction, as Americans currently consume 80% of the world’s supply, yet opiates remain available for public use. That is the definition of a hazard to public safety, yet an all natural plant that has killed no one is now in the cross-hairs of the DEA, and for one reason: kratom is quickly being recognized as a miracle drug for breaking one from the throes of opiate addiction, and that stands to infringe on pharmaceutical profits which really scares big pharma.
After receiving a barrage of letters, phone calls and emails all in protest of the clearly incorrect scheduling of kratom, the DEA has now announced that it will be holding off on officially scheduling kratom. Which is a complete contradiction to their previous claim that this substance is a threat and in need of immediate control. If the DEA was using empirical evidence and scientific documentation, and landed squarely on the certainty that kratom is dangerous and in need of restriction, then there would have been nothing the people could have done to stop their hand, as we have seen many times in the past. Yet, clearly, the public outcry caused a chink in their armor, and revealed what truly drives their decision-making process, and it’s not public safety.
“I don’t have a timetable. It could be this week, could be in the future, I just don’t know,” DEA spokesman Rusty Payne told Pain News Network
Reeling from the overwhelming response from activists and protestors, the DEA is now leaving kratom’s looming classification up in the air, exactly how it has dealt with cannabis; not really taking any action one way or another, but leaving open the possibility to use legal repercussions if they desire. Over 135,000 people signed a petition asking the Obama administration to stop the DEA, and hundreds of kratom supporters rallied in front of the White House in an unprecedented grassroots lobbying campaign. A bipartisan group of congressmen in the House also signed a joint letter asking the agency to delay the scheduling of kratom to allow for public comment.
If this momentum can be maintained, it is likely that the DEA will simply leave kratom in its current state allowing Americans the freedom to use it if they so choose. Yet they would do so in hopes that the people will forget about the plant’s impending step into the schedule one classification that would only be awaiting a nudge by the agency to seal its fate as a restricted substance. So it’s imperative that those fighting to keep this plant available for consumption only push harder, and do not relent.
“What we’re hearing from the DEA today is that it’s not going to happen tomorrow (Friday), but that it’s still going to happen,” said Susan Ash, founder of the American Kratom Association, a consumer group that promotes the use of kratom for medical reasons.
“I’m hoping and praying for some kind of negotiation or compromise. But it sounds like the DEA has dug in because they’re trying to save face. The level of calls that they are receiving and the level of complaints there are receiving is nothing like ever before. We are not a bunch a bunch of drugged out people. If we were, we wouldn’t be on the phone to DEA, congress people and our senators pleading with them to step in and get a delay.”
In a survey conducted on over 6,000 kratom consumers by Pain News Network and the American Kratom Association, 98% said that kratom was not harmful or dangerous, and 95% said that banning the plant will actually have a harmful effect on society. Most of those surveyed said they use the plant in teas and supplements to treat chronic pain, anxiety, depression, addiction and many other documented uses. Many said they would continue to treat their illness with kratom regardless of the government’s archaic restrictions on life.
“We need to be very careful about what we put into Schedule I, especially with limited data. I think that’s a huge mistake. What if it’s a legitimate drug that can help people? And now we’re going to make criminals out of them. I just think it’s awfully fast. I would hope that if it is Schedule I that it is given a huge window of research and experimentation. To me, if 6,000 people say it’s helping me, that tells me there’s a promise there and we ought to be exploiting it.” -John Burke, president of Pharmaceutical Diversion Education, which educates law enforcement and healthcare professionals about prescription drug abuse and diversion.
***Note: Thanks to the selfless actions of those protestors and activists who fought for every American’s right to do what they choose with their own body, kratom will remain available in states that have not already banned it. The Last American Vagabond thanks everyone who stood in protest of these unconstitutional laws. We stand with you and the side of the American people.
Sources: http://www.allgov.com/news/controversies/us-5-percent-of-world-population-80-percent-of-opioid-consumption-141215?news=855100, http://www.painnewsnetwork.org/stories/2016/9/29/dea-no-timetable-for-kratom-ban