Why Would Regulators Ban An Herbal Treatment For Recovering Opioid Addicts?

 

Once Andrew Turner learned of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s plan to ban the medicinal herb he uses to manage a host of medical issues, he did what many activists do: recorded his personal testimony and put it up on YouTube.

 

The Navy veteran didn’t just tell his story; he could actually show what life without Kratom was like for him. Turner suffers from combat-related disabilities, chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder, Meige syndrome, and dystonia. He takes a small amount of powdered leaf from the Kratom plant once daily to treat his conditions.

 

In October, he stopped taking Kratom for six days and recorded his deteriorating condition to demonstrate “what the reality of a Kratom ban looks like.” On day five, excessive blinking, a twitching brow, and swallowing interrupted his speech. His speech was slow and labored. “This is what I’ll have to face” if Kratom is banned, he says, since “the pharmaceutical measures don’t really help; they typically make these issues a little bit worse.”

By day 6, a rapid succession of tics pull and twist his facial expressions, and his stuttering is uncontrollable. “If this continues on,” he says, “within a few more days I’ll probably have complete inability to speak…[and] the pain I woke up with this morning was very unbearable.”

 

Thousands Share Andrew Turner’s Story

 

Though Meige syndrome isn’t common, what binds this veteran’s story to thousands of other testimonies from Kratom users is how taking Kratom has allowed them to stop using prescription opiates, or avoid them altogether. As Turner explains: “For a long time I’ve worked with doctors and the DOD to manage my symptoms…turned out that with just a little bit [of Kratom] each morning, I was able to stop using opiates…large amounts of vicodin, Percosets. I haven’t taken any in months…I can do things on my own again without others helping me.”

 

Many veterans have found success using Kratom to treat chronic pain and PTSD, as founder of American Kratom Association Susan Ash told U.S. News and many wrote to the DEA when it opened the potential regulations for public comment. Abraham, a former U.S. Army sergeant, wrote, “It is one of the only medicines that help tremendously with my PTSD without being hepatotoxic…I had multiple buddies with whom I worked with who were at risk for suicide. They were introduced to Kratom and now are living normal lives.”

 

Many veterans’ stories can be found on YouTube under the hashtag #IAmKratom. Josh, a disabled veteran with two back surgeries, anxiety, and PTSD told viewers how he “walked around feeling like a zombie” on the 12 medications the military hospital had prescribed him before he switched to Kratom. “I feel better in these 3 years that I’ve had Kratom than the six years before that,” he said.

Curtis, a disabled infantry Army vet, said he was put on pharmaceuticals to help with PTSD and opiate painkillers to manage his chronic pain. “It was a pretty bad time for me…I decided to give [Kratom] a try, and within the first two hours of having my first spoonful, my pain was almost completely gone. Over the first few weeks, my crushing depression and anxiety had started to go away.” He says now he doesn’t take any other medications and can provide for his family.

Ash says she uses Kratom to treat chronic pain from Lyme disease and broke her addiction to opioids with its help. Many other non-veterans testified to its efficacy in managing pain. One woman, 48, wrote, “I suffer excruciating, haneous [sic], debilitating pain EVERY minute of every day. Kratom stopped it dead in its tracks. I am now LIVING. I work again, I’m a mother again, a wife again.”

 

Is This Leaf Akin to Heroin or Ecstacy?

 

Thousands of such consumers spoke out when in August 2016 the DEA notified the public of its intent to add the alkaloids mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine to the Schedule I category, a decision “necessary to avoid an imminent hazard to the public safety.” This would have put the ancient herb from Southeast Asia in such unsavory company as heroin, ecstasy, marijuana, and other drugs determined by the DEA to have, “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.”

 

read more at - http://thefederalist.com/2017/03/23/regulators-ban-herbal-treatment-recovering-opioid-addicts/

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