WASHINGTON, Sept. 29, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- With less than two days to go before the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) could impose a ban on the coffee-like herb kratom, the Botanical Education Alliance (BEA) released data today showing the resulting economic harm ranging from at least $1.2 billion and as high as $5 billion that would be suffered by 10,000 kratom-related vendors. Also today, the American Kratom Association (AKA) revealed that its internal data indicates there are three-five million kratom users in the United States.
Available online at https://www.botanical-education.org/economic-impact-kratom/, the BEA analysis is based on a sample of 163 kratom companies with $1.13 billion in total revenues. The companies projected a loss of 18 percent of business overall if a DEA ban is imposed. Half of the respondents would suffer greater than average losses, since kratom accounts for at least 90 percent of their businesses. The $1.2 billion-$5 billion loss estimates are based on projecting the BEA survey findings to the larger universe of 10,000 kratom-related firms.
The AKA estimate of the total number of customers in the United States reflects a range of proprietary data, including tonnage of shipped kratom and consumption estimates as measured by the average cost of kratom products.
Travis Lowin, director, Botanical Education Alliance (previously the Botanical Legal Defense), said: "With the stroke of a pen, no public comment period, and a trumped-up panic about a nonexistent 'epidemic' of abuse, the DEA is poised to wipe out a legitimate multi-billion-dollar, above-ground business that pays taxes, hires thousands of people, gives to charities, and meets a bona fide consumer demand. This is the very definition of government overreach and it should send chills down the back of every American who is concerned about their right to live freely."
Susan Ash, director, American Kratom Association, said: "Kratom is not an opiate. There is no basis for the hysteria that the DEA has tried but failed to stir up. There is simply no good reason to make felons out of three to five million Americans. These are good people who are exercising their right as adults to use a legal product. There is just no justification for criminalizing their voluntary behavior that harms no one."
Other key BEA findings include the following:
- Based, in part, on data published about medical marijuana, industry-wide revenue losses for kratom could range as high as $5 billion. The $1.2 billion low-end estimate included in the BEA report is characterized as "extremely conservative."
- The 163 surveyed companies represent less than 2 percent of all kratom-related vendors but they still account, with $1.13 billion in revenue, for an industry that is larger than soy and almond milk production ($905 million) and roughly as large as online medical supplies ($1.2 billion).
- The surveyed companies employ 2426 people, of whom nearly 900 would lose their jobs under a DEA ban. When the other 98 percent of companies are factored in, the total job losses would be enormous.
- The report also looks at data on tax payments, charitable contributions, and indirect economic impacts.
Under the ill-considered DEA action, the herb kratom could be placed as early as tomorrow (Friday) on an emergency basis in the same drug classification as heroin and LSD, even though (1) there is no documented evidence of a kratom "public health threat," and (2) hundreds of thousands of Americans make use of the herb with no ill effect. The latest on the health and science of kratom are at https://www.botanical-education.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Kratom-Fact-Sheet.pdf and http://www.snopes.com/kratom-banned-by-the-dea/.
Under fire for failing to make headway in the opioid epidemic, the DEA is now seeking to distract the public and lawmakers by focusing unwarranted negative attention on the natural herb kratom, or Mitragyna speciosa, a tree in the coffee family native to Southeast Asia. Kratom leaves have been used in countries like Thailand and Malaysia for over 500 years. The herb is now available in the U.S. just like other herbal supplements.
Kratom is not an opiate. Many studies have shown kratom to have positive benefits. Kratom is legal in 44 states. The Florida Department of Law Enforcement released a December 2015 report that found: "Kratom does not currently constitute a significant risk to the safety and welfare of Florida residents." Nonetheless, on August 31, 2016, the DEA announced its intention to place kratom into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act in order to avoid a supposed "imminent hazard to public safety," which, in reality, does not exist.
In truth, kratom has never been present alone in a single documented death and is as about as habit-forming as the coffee to which it is related. By contrast, pharmaceutical drugs are one of the leading causes of death in this country, killing one American every 19 minutes. Prescription opiate pain killers account for more than 475,000 emergency room visits annually.
ABOUT THE GROUPS
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/
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
SOURCE Botanical Education Alliance, Washington, D.C.; American Kratom Association