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Published On: Fri, Oct 21st, 2016

The DEA, the Kratom ban and A March of a dedicated few

Plans were made by many as they hoped their efforts would not fall upon the deaf ears of a government that appears to be in bed with Big Pharma and has little concern about the number of people who would rather be felons in the eyes of the law than be forced to take another synthetic painkiller. All while the government began planning another attack in the failed “war on drugs,” this time taking aim at a group of people trying to find alternative solutions for pain management, fatigue, pain, anxiety, PTSD, help manage addiction, or just looking for a healthier alternative to the alcohol scene.

As the manager of Low Tide Kava Bar in Gulfport, FL, I was one of those who made the trek to our nation’s Capitol for the rally. With me came Sean, the owner of Low Tide, Jeremy, a devout activist, and Stephen, a documentary film maker who wanted to interview some of those who were going to be affected greatly by the ban. Together we arrived in the city a little before noon, and quickly met up with some other kava bar owners from Florida who had also made the trek. Hugs, handshakes, and other pleasantries were exchanged before we discussed the possibility of the DEA reversing their decision, allowing us to run our businesses and our customers to make the medical and personal choices for their bodies granted from birth. The general consensus being; kava bar owners, along with many reputable kratom distributors already self-regulate by not selling to anyone who is under the age of 18. Why is the government inserting itself into an industry where their overreaching hand would only hinder growth of a market that is already policing itself?

I wandered around in the hot D.C. sun, using a sign that had a circle with a diagonal line going through the words “BIG PHARMA” for shade (utilizing the actual definition, along with the current colloquialism), as well as show my support for a cause I believe in. I talked to Rob, from Ohio, who told me kratom helped him stop using caffeine, nicotine, pharmaceuticals, and other drugs. I spoke with Sam and Christie, from Kentucky, who were concerned for their future, now that kratom was going to be banned. Both were using the herbal supplement to ease chronic pain, and did not want to continue using prescribed painkillers that they felt had hindered their lives, and took away from their ability to function in their day-to-day lives. I met up with Paul Kemp, and Susan Ash, who expressed worry for the millions of daily kratom users who would be lost without the supplement, some of whom would fall off the proverbial wagon.

I saw people holding signs with the death statistics of other illegal drugs from 2014; Heroin: 11,000, Cocaine: 5,000, Alcohol: 88,000, Opioid Pain Relievers: 20,000, Kratom: 0. I saw numerous signs saying “Kratom Saves Lives,” “Plants Not Pills,” “Farm Not Pharma,” and one heart wrenching  sign held by a young boy who appeared to be between 6 and 9 reading “Kratom Saved My Mom.”

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  1. Gary Parillo says:

    I am 63,partially disabled,with chronic pain conditions.I have used kratom tea for 3 years now,and have found it helpful to alleviate pain,and calm anxiety.There isn’t a “high” with kratom,just a calming,and the physical feeling is similar to a mild muscle relaxant,in my experience.
    Researchers have confirmed in studies that it is safe,non-addictive,and has low to no abuse potential.
    To ban this herb seems senseless to me,and to classify it as a schedule 1 drug seems ludicrous.There is nothing dangerous about kratom.Taking too much is something one learns not to do,as it can cause nausea and dizziness.Small amounts are the right amounts.I hope the authorities will listen to the millions of testimonies such as mine,and consider the findings of the researchers.I truly doubt that millions of people can be wrong,especially after years of enjoying the benifits of this herbal gift of nature.

  2. Mary Jones says:

    Thank you for recognizing #kratom and our community with an opportunity for dialogue from the American Keaton Association. I am a retired teacher and was once a pawn in the opioid answer for Fibromyalgia, degenerative arthritis and spinal stenosis. When I was first diagnosed at a major clinic, I was prescribed a 3 month supply of hydrocodone, muscle relaxers and ambien to navigate myself through my responsibilities. Oddly, I celebrated the relief on the roller coaster and was determined to stay the course. Eventually, lyrica, Prozac and Xanax joined my daily tonic of treatment. My life continued and I became an observer of the world due to exhaustion and pain. Did I mention I gained fifty pounds? But, I believed my physicians knew best and I did my best to hide my invisible condition and treatment. Only my husband knew my struggles and it amazes me that he loved me through the darkest hours of my life. I was introduced to #kratom by my own child, I took a leap of faith! I had witnessed #kratom salvage and restore my daughter so it wasn’t hard to give the leaf a try. It’s been two years since I have used the opioid medications and I do not plan on going back to the person I once was. #kratom doesn’t take away my symptoms but the pain and fatigue are managed and I am able to engage in this life. #seniorsforkratom are sharing our stories because we know the truth and know that #kratomsaveslives. I am so proud to know Susan Ash and Paul Kemp and to have been introduced to the many good people in #theamericankratomassociation.

  3. Aimee Wilkes says:

    I’m pretty clever when its come to my “thoughts in font form” but I’m at a loss for words!
    Just, Thank You!

    #iamkratom #NoChemiKills

  4. Chelsie Byroads says:

    This is good. #kratomsaveslives
    #IAmKratom
    #stopthebanonkratom

  5. Brian says:

    It’s really about more than just the Kratom ban also… The governing entities in this country are using their power a little freely without following a protocol or due process allowing the public they say they are defending to weigh in before they make drastic actions. Yes, I am a kratom user and it has helped with my anxiety drastically. I am an employed citizen trying to make it in this life. I have served my country and state in the National Guard. I am one of thousands that are not the drug pedaling street slime they try to make kratom users out to be. Thanks for letting me comment.

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