WASHINGTON, Feb. 2, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- When the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) asked for public comments late last year about its plan to impose what amounted to a ban on the coffee-like herb kratom, they may not have been prepared for both the volume of comments (23,116) and the overwhelming opposition to a ban (99.1 percent). A new analysis by the American Kratom Association (AKA) and American Coalition of Free Citizens (ACFC) reviewed every one of the comments submitted to the DEA prior to the conclusion of its public comment period on December 1, 2016.
The AKA/ACFC found several things that the DEA most likely was not expecting to see:
- Overview of key groups. Among those listing a profession, nearly half (48 percent) were veterans, law enforcement officials, health care professionals, and scientists. (This reflected a total of 1175 out of 2416 comments with profession-related information.) These groups came down strong in favor of kratom and against a ban 754 versus 9 … for a pro-kratom support level of 98.7 percent.
- Veterans. Those who served in the military were a large contingent among those mentioning their profession. The 449 self-identified veterans accounted for 448 comments, or 18 percent of the 2416 indicating a professional work/background. Veterans supported kratom by a margin of 448 to 1, or 99.8 percent.
- Health care professionals. The 576 self-identified medical professionals in the survey also came down strongly in support of kratom. These current and retired doctors, nurses, and other medical professionals supported kratom by a margin of 569 to 7, or 98.8 percent.
- Older Americans. On age, a total of 3811 comment filers indicate how old they are. In this group, 806 (21 percent) were 55 or older. Older American supported kratom by a margin of 805 to 1, or 99.9 percent.
Susan Ash, director, American Kratom Association and Jason Jeffers, president, American Coalition of Free Citizens said: "The face of kratom consumers is the face of America today. Our groups partnered-up to examine all of the public comments to DEA on the kratom ban because we were curious about who was responding and what they had to say. What we found is a kratom community of responsible consumers who look just like your family and the people who live next door. The results speak for themselves: 99 percent of those who comment, do not want the federal government to police the natural herb called kratom."
Katie Lair, research and communications director, American Coalition of Free Citizens, said: "The most curious thing about the public comments is that there were so few responses actually supporting the DEA. Only 113 people out of 23,116 commented in support of the DEA proposal to ban kratom. When you have so much anti-kratom propaganda circulating at the state level and misleading talk of a public health crisis, one would expect more public comments in support of what the DEA is trying to do. To have just 113 people nationwide support the DEA is remarkable for a campaign like this to determine whether something should be banned for the entire nation. The topline finding is obvious: There is no public appetite for banning kratom and continued fierce opposition can be expected by anyone who cares to do so."
For this research, medical professional was defined as "medical doctors, registered nurses, psychiatrists, speech therapists and EMTs and trained first responders."
The American Kratom Association led the charge when the DEA opened a public comment period running through December 1, 2016. Of the more than 23,000 comments submitted before the deadline closed, the KratomComments.org Web site created by AKA was responsible for 16,379 comments – roughly 71 percent of total comments received at Regulations.gov. (The campaign Web site is now inactive.)
The findings released today by the two groups are consisted with data released by AKA in a November 2016 online survey of 105 emergency room (ER)/trauma health care professionals that found zero reported cases of deaths related to kratom. The new poll of America's front-line medical professionals also uncovered precisely zero percent support among those surveyed for a DEA ban on the coffee-like herb kratom.
A major analysis by Dr. Jack Henningfield, Ph.D., vice president of Research, Health Policy, and Abuse Liability at PinneyAssociates, for the American Kratom Association found that there is "insufficient evidence" for the DEA to ban or otherwise restrict the coffee-like herb kratom under the Controlled Substances Act. According to the comprehensive Henningfield report, kratom has little potential for abuse and dependence – as low or lower than such widely used and unscheduled substances as "nutmeg, hops, St. John's Wort, chamomile, guarana, and kola nut."
The America Kratom Association, a consumer-based non-profit organization, is here to set the record straight, giving a voice to those suffering and protecting our rights to possess and consume kratom. AKA represents tens of thousands of Americans, each of whom have a unique story to tell about the virtues of kratom and its positive effects on their lives. www.americankratom.org
American Coalition of Free Citizens (ACFC), a non-partisan organization with members in every state, was founded in 2016 after a statewide ban on the natural herb kratom took effect in Alabama. Our core mission is to defend the rights of people to access and choose safe and natural ethnobotanical/herbal alternatives to prescription drugs. More broadly, ACFC defends the freedoms, rights and privileges granted to all Americans by the U.S. Constitution. As a result of the war on kratom initiated by both the federal government and state governments across the country, our group is committed to defending kratom and keeping it legal. The ACFC website is currently under construction set to launch in late winter 2017. Our Facebook group page can be found online at: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1301010013260823/ and our like page here: https://www.facebook.com/americfc/.
For queries about membership, volunteering or just general information, please contact our communications department at: [email protected].
SOURCE American Kratom Association and American Coalition of Free Citizens, Washington, DC