WASHINGTON, Oct. 12, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American Kratom Association (AKA) is calling on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to "immediately suspend" the proposal to effectively ban the natural herb kratom since the proof offered by the DEA to justify control in schedule I "falls well short" of what Congress requires for such emergency action by the agency.
The AKA letter delivered to DEA Acting Administrator Chuck Rosenberg is available online at http://bit.ly/2e3C7Z4.
The AKA letter concludes: "… It would be overstepping the agency's boundaries to use this authority for kratom. Here, instead, the public's interest in an open, deliberate process must be given priority, given that the public has been allowed to purchase kratom over these many years, that businesses have been allowed to develop, and that, at best, the evidence of a serious safety risk has not been substantiated and is not altogether different from the risks posed by other consumer products."
American Kratom Association Director Susan Ash said: "AKA believes any decisions regarding kratom's status must be accomplished through a transparent, science-based process with full opportunity for input from all stakeholders. Consumers who safely use kratom, the small businesses that have been involved in the kratom industry in the United States for decades, and scientists who have conducted, and who are in the process of conducting, important research on kratom, must be included in the process. AKA urges DEA to immediately withdraw the proposed emergency scheduling of kratom in favor of a more deliberate, constructive and inclusive process."
Commenting on the letter, Travis Lowin, director, Botanical Education Alliance, said: "The DEA missed the mark here and it would be a gross miscarriage of due process to simply tell millions of American consumers and the legal businesses that serve them that they are now felons. The DEA has a strict set of rules it is supposed to follow for an emergency scheduling of a drug and kratom meets none of those tests. There are reasonable limits on the power of what government can do precisely to avoid situations like this where legal consumer conduct and legitimate free enterprise would otherwise be crushed overnight by indiscriminate use of the power of government."
Highlights of the AKA letter include the following:
"The DEA's proposed use of the emergency scheduling authority in this instance is completely unprecedented … Far from being 'an imminent hazard,' kratom herbal products are used routinely, safely, and responsibly by several million consumers in the United States. Never before has DEA invoked its emergency scheduling authority to take action against a natural product with a long history of safe use in the community.
"Emergency scheduling is designed to give the Attorney General (acting through DEA) the ability to immediately criminalize, through schedule I control, novel synthetic or 'designer' substances that quickly emerge on the illicit market. These are substances that can readily be identified as highly addictive, are likely to be abused, and are likely to present an immediate threat of death or serious harm. Kratom is not such a substance … kratom is a well-known, well-researched herbal substance drawn from the leaves of trees within the coffee family. The number of cases of documented harm from kratom use is remarkably low, both as an absolute matter and when considered against the extensive history of use of kratom, both inside and outside the United States."
The AKA letter also notes: "… safety reports for kratom bear no resemblance in quantity and type to the reports that are the hallmark of the many potent opioid substances used and abused in the United States. Jack Henningfield, PhD, one of the world's leading experts on drugs of abuse and addiction therapy, comprehensively reviewed publicly available data on the safety of kratom and described the results as a 'remarkable record of safety and low abuse risk for any substance used by millions of America' with "little evidence of dependence or serious adverse events and no documented kratom-caused overdose deaths."
"Kratom is prevalent in certain ethnic communities in the United States, where it is linked by custom to the indigenous use of kratom in Southeast Asia dating back several centuries. It is also prevalent among disabled Americans, Veterans, and other consumers who find that their personal well-being is positively impacted by the use of herbal remedies. And, many use kratom products as part of a routine self-care regimen, not unlike the use of caffeine-containing products and other natural botanical products."
The AKA letter continues: "…. the evidence compiled by DEA falls well short of the very high burden DEA must clear in order to justify the need for taking an emergency scheduling action. Kratom use is ancient, not "rapidly" emerging. Kratom is not a new "designer drug" concocted to avoid existing DEA controls; it is a natural botanical substance openly marketed primarily as a natural- source consumer product. Kratom is not intensely reinforcing, leading to destructive behavior. In fact, the evidence is far more compelling that kratom is a staple of self-care that allows individuals to lead their lives productively and without unnecessary reliance on more harmful substances."
ABOUT THE GROUPS
The America Kratom Association, a consumer-based non-profit, is here to set the record straight, giving voice to the suffering and our rights to possess and consume kratom. AKA represents tens of thousands of Americans; each with a unique story to tell about the virtues of kratom and its positive effects on our lives. www.americankratom.org
The Botanical Education Alliance is an organization dedicated to educating consumers, lawmakers, law enforcement, and the media about safe and therapeutic natural supplements including Mitragyna speciosa, also known as kratom. BEA's mission is to increase understanding in order to influence public policy and protect natural supplements. The vision of the Alliance is to create a society where every adult has the right to access safe and effective natural supplements. www.botanical-education.org/
SOURCE American Kratom Association and Botanical Education Alliance, Washington, DC