Kratom’s Future Under the SITSA Act

June 20, 2018 Articles, Kratom Research, Kratom Reviews, News

Kratom has been under intense scrutiny over the past few years. First, in August of 2016, US Marshals Service seized more than 100 cases of kratom products, then the DEA (Drug Enforcement Agency) announced its intent to schedule Kratom as a controlled substance, a move that was, ultimately, reconsidered after public outcry.

It wasn’t the first nor the last time that the government and its agents put the screws to the kratom community. Earlier that year, US Marshals had seized no less than 90,000 bottles of kratom capsules at the behest of the FDA (Food & Drug Administration). At the time, the FDA’s commissioner for regulatory affairs said, “We have identified kratom as a botanical substance that could pose a risk to public health and have the potential for abuse.”

The concern seemed to stem from the fact that kratom’s toxicity in multiple organ systems was unclear and that insufficient evidence existed to support the theory that kratom could be beneficial to one’s health. Much of the fear surrounding kratom at the time owed to the fact that kratom consumption could lead to a number of adverse reactions, such as respiratory depression or vomiting.

Kratom made the news yet again in February of 2018 when the FDA asked kratom vendors to voluntarily recall their products in the wake of a salmonella outbreak traced to kratom products. Shipments were once again seized and online kratom vendors were running scared all over again.

In light of legislative attempts to ban kratom, there has been plenty of push back from the public and kratom advocacy groups. Organizations like the American Kratom Association have been adamant about keeping kratom classified as a natural supplement and have signed petitions to this end.

Letters have been sent to the Senate and Congress, and rallies have been held to defend kratom with hashtags like #SaveKratom and #iamkratom trending on social media. It’s clear that the people don’t want this Ayurvedic herb to go anywhere. But try telling that to the bureaucrats in power.

On June 15th, 239 members of the US House of Representatives voted to pass H.R. 2851, otherwise known as the Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues Act (SITSA, for short). This bill’s chief purpose is to put the kibosh on the mushrooming opioid epidemic that has been destroying the fabric of American life. But many in the community are worried that SITSA could be used to give broader power to the Department of Justice, power that would enable them to outlaw kratom.

Fortunately for those who are concerned about this prospect, there is still time for things to go the other way. The SITSA Act has yet to be approved by the Senate which means that we now have the opportunity to appeal to our local Senators to make sure that they give this draconian bill a down vote.

In the past, politicians from both sides of the aisle have questioned the validity of a kratom ban. Back in 2016, Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) said, “The use of this emergency authority for a natural substance is unprecedented.” This sentiment did not and has not stopped the DEA and the FDA from pushing their agenda.

According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), certain US jurisdictions have passed, or are considering passing, legislation to make kratom use a felony. This is something that is infuriating to the legions of citizens who have benefited from kratom use.

One disabled American war veteran wrote about kratom for Medium.com, saying that kratom saved his life. The vet, who served two combat tours in Afghanistan, wrote about how he returned from military service with PTSD and chronic pain. Consequently, he turned to street drugs to treat his agony, only to inevitably find himself in trouble. After chasing escape and danger, he landed himself in jail.

When he had hit rock bottom and was contemplating suicide, he discovered kratom and reports having a “life changing experience.” In his words, “Before even simple activities like going out to dinner were just too difficult to manage. Kratom greatly reduces my PTSD symptoms as well as my constant pain.

“I have a great feeling of well being, as well as more relaxed. I am able to work full time without being in constant agony. Most importantly I am able to be there for my family.”

On I Love Kratom’s Kratom Community Forum, one user posted the following message: “I wake up every day and am proud because kratom truly [sic] saved me. I have been addicted to many substances including oxy, alcohol, coke etc etc.. last july i totaled my car and luckily got away with 6 stiches [sic] and a life time of back pain.

“I had tried kratom years ago, and it helped a little, but was hard to get good kratom. Well 2 12 months ago i started using kratom and havent gone back to any old addictions. With kratom i can control my pain and my life. I think Kratom is a blessing and everyone should know about it. It changed my life.”

Another person talked about how kratom helped them in numerous aspects of their life. The individual in question suffered from depression and had been diagnosed with mild autism, migraine headaches and a thyroid disorder prior to discovering the M. speciosa (kratom) plant.

This person writes, “…when I was 25 I found this Herb called Kratom (Mitragyna Speciosa). Once I started taking it every day my Life completely turned around. I no longer had Depression…Kratom just made me feel like Life Was Worth Living Again. I was more Social & had less Anxiety. My Migraine Headaches were much better. Everything that I did wasn’t like going through the motions in Life but Kratom made the Little Things Enjoyable Again…If I didn’t have Kratom I would have died years ago…”

Countless kratom users have echoed this sentiment, saying that kratom has helped them manage their pain, become less introverted, concentrate on their work and live happier lives. Although the FDA has issued a warning, urging the public to avoid kratom as they believe it to be dangerous, the public already know where they land on the subject.

Kratom has been used by blue collar factory workers, elderly arthritis sufferers, young people with mood disorders and innumerable people with chronic conditions. While the purported benefits of kratom are debatable and there is inconclusive scientific evidence to validate it, those who have used kratom invariably confirm its efficacy as a natural analgesic and anxiolytic (anti-anxiety) herb.

One of the big problems facing the kratom community is the government’s notion that kratom is synthetic. Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. Kratom is, indeed, natural, coming as it does from the Mitragyna speciosa plant that grows in the wilds of Southeast Asia.

Unfortunately, many shady kratom vendors have cut their kratom powders with synthetic chemicals to potentiate a stronger “high.” It is imperative that responsible kratom suppliers practice proper quality control to ensure that their customers are getting what they’re paying for—pure, unadulterated kratom powder or kratom capsules.

If we want kratom to remain legal and unregulated, we need to do our part to provide kratom that is free of harmful agents. At this time, kratom has yet to be banned in the US as a whole, but efforts are being made to heavily regulate or outlaw this “dangerous drug.”

All it will take is one more case of kratom-related hospitalizations to bolster the campaign for a kratom ban. Don’t let this happen. Do your part to keep kratom pure and visit American Kratom Association’s website today to learn more about how you can advocate for this Ayurvedic herb.

Bob Freville
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