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MARCH ON WASHINGTON
PLEASE CO-SIGN OUR
OPEN LETTER TO ROBERT W. PATTERSON
ACTING DIRECTOR, U.S. DRUG ENFORCEMENT ADMINISTRATION
Dear Administrator Patterson,
We the undersigned, Americans who join the millions of our fellow citizens who responsibly use the botanical plant kratom as a part of our health and well-being regimens, join the American Kratom Association (AKA) in strongly urging the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to conduct a thorough and independent 8-Factor Analysis on kratom to test the credibility of the scheduling recommendation submitted by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
In its enactment of the Controlled Substances Act, Congress has wisely required the DEA to do its own independent review on scheduling recommendations submitted by the FDA to provide a 2nd opinion on important substance scheduling issues. That 2nd opinion is desperately needed in the evaluation of kratom because the science directly refutes the FDA claims.
Specifically, we respectfully ask the DEA to carefully examine the following issues in its own 8-Factor Analysis on kratom:
- Kratom is a safe botanical that does not kill people. The deaths the FDA claims are caused by kratom are actually fatalities associated with underlying health issues of the decedent, or caused by the use of other toxic doses of substances that are co-administered or mixed with kratom. Kratom has a long history of safe use over centuries when responsibly consumed, and the FDA claims are simply unsupportable based on the science.
- If kratom is banned, opioid deaths will increase. The opioid crisis in America kills more than 90 people every day. Credible studies show that many people manage pain using kratom as an alternative to dangerously addictive and potentially deadly prescription opioids. If it is banned, those people will be forced to opioid use, or to the black market for products that are contaminated or adulterated, and therefore very dangerous. The perverse public health outcome from any ban on kratom will result in more deaths.
- Kratom is an alternative to opioids, not a gateway to opioid abuse. Kratom does not produce a high like opioids; kratom does not suppress the respiratory system like opioids; and kratom does not produce opioid-like effects. Kratom is safely and responsibly used by millions of Americans, including some for alleviating pain. Without kratom, many will be forced to opioid use to alleviate pain.
- The AKA, and we agree, strongly supports appropriate FDA regulations to protect consumers. Protecting consumers from adulterated and contaminated kratom products; assuring children cannot purchase or consume kratom; imposing good manufacturing standards to ensure product purity; product packaging standards to prevent tampering; and clear labeling and health claims restrictions similar to other dietary supplement products, are important roles for the FDA to have in protecting consumer safety, and we welcome such restrictions to ensure continued safe and responsible use of kratom products by consumers.
The DEA has received an independent 8-Factor Analysis on kratom authored by one of the leading experts on addiction and substance safety, Jack Henningfield, Ph.D., and we believe that data will be critically important to the DEA’s own analysis of kratom. In addition, there are four other key studies on kratom use that the DEA should consider that clearly demonstrate the harm that will be done by any scheduling order on kratom.
If you’ve had one of those days that starts with friends calling you with bad news, and the news just gets worse and worse as the day goes on – then that describes my day perfectly.
On Friday of last week, Sen. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, and Sen. Dianne Feinstein of California, dropped a bill in the U.S. Senate that our lobbyists believe will give the FDA and DEA a backdoor way of banning kratom completely in the United States.
S. 1327 is euphemistically called the SITSA Act. And a companion bill in the US House of Representatives has already been filed, H.R. 2851, by Representative John Katco of New York.
The SITSA Act stands for the “Stop Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues Act of 2017.”
SITSA creates a new “Schedule A” that gives the Attorney General of the United States the power to ban any “analogue” of an opioid that controls pain or provides an increase of energy.
That is kratom. Because kratom’s 2 primary alkaloids, mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine, though not opioids, act similarly in some ways.
They could of just called this bill the “Schedule Kratom” Act.
This legislation will allow the Attorney General, and his supporters at the DEA, to add kratom to Schedule A on a “temporary basis” that will last for 5 years.
And once added to Schedule A, the Attorney General can convert it to a permanent schedule.
After everything that we’ve fought successfully against and endured together as a movement, our lobbyists are concerned that this is now the perfect storm for banning kratom.
Under the current Controlled Substances Act, the FDA and DEA have to prove conclusively that kratom is dangerously addictive and unsafe for consumer use. That’s why we were able to stop them in their tracks when they tried to ram through an “emergency scheduling” ban on kratom.
And it is why the FDA is having such a tough time in finding some justification to schedule kratom under regular rulemaking.
So now the anti-kratom bureaucrats in Washington want to ban kratom simply by claiming it has the same effects as an opioid – calling it an “analogue” of the opioid.
And the SITSA Act can enforce a ban on kratom by criminalizing any manufacturer or distributor of kratom. Ten years imprisonment just for manufacturing or selling a kratom product, and a fine of $500,000 if you are an individual, $2,500,000 if the defendant is a company.
If you import or export kratom, it is a 20-year sentence.
And then there are harsh penalties for what they call “false labeling” of a Schedule A substance.
That’s why am writing – because I need your help again.
We have to convince Sen. Grassley, Sen. Feinstein, and Representative Katko that they have to exempt natural botanical plants from the SITSA Act.
We have to act quickly, because I learned today that the House Judiciary Committee is looking to schedule a Hearing before they leave for recess next month.
So I hope you will help by doing three specific things:
1. Click on the link below and sign our petition that the AKA will have delivered to every member of the Senate and House Judiciary Committees.
2. I need you to pick up the phone and call Sen. Grassley’s office, Sen. Feinstein’s office, and Representative Katco’s office. When the staff member answers the phone, tell them that their boss should exclude natural botanicals like kratom products from the SITSA Act.
Here are the phone numbers you should call:
Senator Grassley: (202) 224-3744
Senator Feinstein: (202) 224-3841
Congressman Katco: (202) 225-3701
When you call, be polite, but firm. Kratom should be exempted from SITSA.
3. Please click on the donation link below and help us once again to take on this fight with a team of lawyers, lobbyists, and public relations professionals. Please consider making a monthly contribution to the AKA.
I know I am asking a lot.
But we need to fight back hard, or they will steal our freedoms from us to make our own decisions about our health and well-being.
So please, sign the petition, call the the sponsors of SITSA, and please, please, give as generous a contribution as you can to help us put our team on the ground in Washington, D.C.
With your help, we have established ourselves as a real force in Washington.
With your continued help – help that I am so grateful for – we can win this battle against the enemies of kratom.
Your contribution will help us hire the lawyers we need for a brief on why this legislation violates due process and current law; our lobbyists to knock on doors on Capitol Hill; and our public relations team to rally the press to tell our story.
We will stand up for freedom.
Thank you for your continued support.
Founder and Spokesperson
American Kratom Association