Kratom may be the key to solving America’s widespread opioid crisis. As disenfranchised Americans continue to overdose, governments and the media alike scramble for a solution. Some candidates, such and Andrew Yang, have gone so far as to make the causes of the opioid crisis their foremost campaign focus. Yet amidst this crawl towards salvation for middle-America, the government continues to embrace flawed logic and pursue damaging legislation in regards to Kratom.
What is Kratom and why do we need it?
Kratom is a legal plant-based drug that is often used to treat opiate withdrawal in the United States. For centuries, farmers in Africa and Southeast Asia would chew Kratom to boost their energy. The drug often makes its way to the U.S. via smugglers who obtain it in Thailand.
It has recently gained popularity in the United States, and for good reason. The opiate substitute is completely legal and can thus be purchased in most states. In addition, many states allow restaurants to serve Kratom-based tea.
Thankfully, scientists in the United States find that it is effective in treating opiate withdrawal. They have also found that the plant drug can offer relief from pain, depression, and anxiety. Because of this, Americans think it could be a saving grace from the clutches of an opioid epidemic.
Moreover, as American enterprises continue to automate basic tasks, many Americans face the risk of losing their jobs. The economy is shifting, so many who only have a few skills are going to be left in the dust. This shift, married to the problem of opioid over-prescription, has led many Americans to the point of an eternal opiate-induced stupor.
Clearly, this is problematic, and there are very few solutions in the United States. Ibogaine therapy shows itself to be extremely effective in regards to opiate addiction. Yet, the United States continues to prohibit this treatment, classifying ibogaine as a schedule 1 drug.
Kratom remains one of the few potential solutions for this issue, yet the government only seeks to make things worse.
Flawed Government Intervention
The CDC has been working against legal Kratom use in the U.S. In addition, the DEA and FDA also wish to see it classified as schedule 1. The CDC indicates that they are finding traces of Kratom in many overdoses. This story is populating many news headlines, indicating to Americans that Kratom is a problem.
Yet they misrepresent the data. In the time period between July 2016 and December 2017, the CDC found that 152 of the deceased people tested positive for Kratom. This evidence may seem damning, but it was not necessarily the cause of death. In 80% of the Kratom related deaths, the person had a history of illegal use of other drugs.
What this indicates is that those who overdose on Kratom are already going outside of the law. They are indulging in many other substances. The CDC makes clear that fentanyl is listed as a cause of death in most of the Kratom-related overdoses. The people dying are using illegal drugs.
As we can clearly see, making Kratom illegal is not going to stop these users from abusing it. They already have access to phenomenally lethal (and illegal) opiates. Furthermore, they have shown that they have no regard for the legality of substances. Thus, banning Kratom will have no effect on these individuals.
A ban on Kratom will not hinder the deaths related to it in any way. Conversely, it will only harm those who have found that it can provide them with much-need relief.