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Kratom – A Valuable Ally in the Fight Against the Opioid Epidemic in the USA

‘Let’s just give it a try. Nothing bad will happen’ – the last words of someone before years of addiction, painful withdrawal symptoms and rehabilitation. Despite multiple opioid awareness campaigns, the drug-trafficking business remains successful. Statistics are shocking – at this point, every fourth adult in the United States tried illicit drugs at least once in a lifetime. According to the latest research, 40.000 people in the US die annually due to the opioid epidemic. In 2017, it was declared a public health emergency. The study from 2014 showed that drug overdoses killed more people than vehicle crashes that year.

Researchers say that the main problem is the opioids prescription. People legally get drugs to relieve pain. However, a lot of patients don’t notice how fast they get addicted to their medications.

On February 2018, Donald Trump promised to confront the opioid epidemic, but the crisis is an almost insurmountable challenge. Citizens realize that US government may not able to change the situation at this point, so they try to manage on their own. Over the past few years, drug users started taking kratom for addiction treatments.

According to Kratomystic, kratom is a tropical plant from the same family as the coffee plant. It is considered an opioid agonist that can diminish the withdrawal symptoms. The kratom market is growing rapidly in the United States. As an outcome, the Food and Drug Administration declared war against this substance and its sellers. Kratom can be a valuable ally in the fight against the opioid epidemic in the USA, not an enemy. It is time to raise the curtain on new panacea and unexplained aggression from the authorities.

The reasons behind opioid crises

American society experienced three ways of the opioid epidemic. A lot of people mistakenly believe it all had started in the 60s when hippies discovered marijuana and Timothy Leary, Harvard professor, was persuading students to try LSD. The statistics show that it was nothing compared to what is happening now. For instance, in 1969 only 4% of adults in the United States tried marijuana, let alone illicit drugs usage.

The first wave of opioid crises began in 1991 when doctors started prescribing opioid medications to treat non-cancer pain. When the authorities realised how addictive these prescribed meds were, it became harder to obtain them. It didn’t take long to see the results – the focus turned to a cheap and illegal option such as heroin. The use of this drug increased by 284% from 2000 to 2014. The study conducted on this issue proved that almost 80% of heroin addicts took prescribed opioids before they turned to ‘witch hazel’.

For drug addicts, it feels like a vicious circle. To treat pain, they use meds but later they have new pain – withdrawal symptoms. The list includes muscle aches, diarrhoea, nausea, vomiting, sweating, insomnia, abdominal cramping and anxiety. It is almost impossible to function normally. No wonder, addicts continuing drug abuse even after they decide to quit.

At this point, America spends approximately $16 million of dollars on drug war every month. It is around $6.120 per second, according to journalist Sam Becker.

Opioid addiction treatment

Before 2011, kratom was not commonly used in the United States. People heard about this substance in 2014 when it was marketed as a dietary supplement that could relieve pain, elevate a person’s energy and help fight with opioid addiction. It was sold in pills and as a powder that could be added to juice or tea. Kratom sellers assure clients that their product contains only natural alkaloids and that it is completely healthy.

This substance can be used as a tool for opioid addiction treatment because it can activate the same receptors. The effects of kratom include sedation, anxiety relief and euphoria. Nonetheless, kratom consumers can function normally and perform their daily tasks.

The main argument of the Food and Drug Administration against kratom is that it also has side effects that include paranoia, hallucinations and even liver damage. When the US government wanted to ban kratom completely, thousands of people started fighting to keep it legal and publicly available. There are a lot of users who share the stories of kratom usage in the media. Drug abusers, people with PTSD, chronic pain and anxiety say that only this substance keeps them alive. At the point, American Kratom Association (KA) tries to fight legally against new laws. For example, representatives of KA persuaded Rick Jones, member of the Michigan Senate to be more loyal to kratom. The politician was initially against kratom usage in the United States. However, now citizens can easily buy it in the stores of Michigan from the age of 18. ‘It is not allowed to mix kratom with other opioids’ – it is written on the package in the local store.

Despite the number of people who report improvement of their health after taking kratom, the authorities close shops with this plant around America. Nowadays kratom is considered illegal in Jersey County Illinois, Alabama, Indiana, San Diego, Denver Colorado, District of Columbia and Aransas.

Ace in the hole

The authorities will not give up so easily on this. The lack of research is the main drawback that doesn’t allow kratom to enter the market and be at the same level as prescribed opioids. Another thing that makes society doubt in kratom is the public message of FDA that blamed this drug for the deaths of 44 people. Kratom distributors tell that these assumptions are wrong.

The price of kratom is lower compared to the cost of other meds. It puts companies that sell prescribed opioids at risk. The members of American Kratom Association believe it is the main reason FDA keeps putting a spoke in the wheel.

The opioid epidemic has reached such a dangerous scale, so it is in the best interest of the US government to look for alternatives and finally make America opioid-free.

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