WASHINGTON, Sept. 20, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nine out of 10 respondents in the largest survey conducted to date of kratom users believe that the coffee-like herb is effective for dealing with joint and muscle comfort and related problems, according to the findings released today by the Pain News Network (PNN) at http://www.painnewsnetwork.org/kratom-survey/.
The survey of 6,150 kratom users was conducted between the August 30th announcement by the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) of a proposed ban on kratom and the end of last week. With the support of the American Kratom Association (AKA), PNN promoted participation in the survey to its own readers and the broader public via social media channels. The poll of kratom users involves a sample that is at least 10 times larger than any previous such survey. PNN maintained full editorial control of the survey questions and the presentation of the findings.
Other key survey findings include the following:
- The top three reasons kratom user said they use the herb are: chronic or acute pain (51 percent); anxiety (14 percent); and treatment of opioid addiction or dependence (9 percent). Important note: AKA and the Botanical Education Alliance (which joined PNN and AKA in releasing the findings) make no medical-related claims for kratom in connection with the survey published today by the Pain News Network.
- For those using kratom to deal with pain, the five most common issues are: spine or back (38 percent); other (15 percent); an injury (11 percent); fibromyalgia (9 percent); and osteoarthritis (3 percent).
- 66 percent of kratom users said that a ban on kratom would result in them being "more likely to be addicted and overdose on other substances."
- More than one out of four kratom users (27 percent) said they would still use kratom even if it is banned by the DEA an 43 percent indicated they are unsure what they would do.
- 98 percent of kratom users do not believe that it is a harmful or dangerous substance.
- 75 percent said it is not possible to get "high" from kratom.
- 95 percent said that making kratom illegal would be harmful or society.
Susan Ash, director, American Kratom Association, said: "In declaring war on kratom, the DEA never took the time to actually look at what is happening with this natural herb. They never took the time to talk to or to survey kratom users. If they had, they would have learned of the very positive picture that emerges from the Pain News Network survey. There is no kratom epidemic or crisis. This is a natural herb in the coffee family that people are using in their lives in a variety of positive ways. The DEA war on kratom is not justified by the facts, it is not based on scientific data, and it needs to stop now."
Travis Lowin, executive director, Botanical Education Alliance, said: "We must unite to bring the truth about Kratom to regulators and Congress. We cannot let the DEA get away with scheduling an herb that millions of Americans use safely to support their overall health and wellbeing. The DEA has failed Americans in its efforts to combat the opioid epidemic and targeting Kratom will make the situation worse. Our organization and Americans nationwide are only demanding that we receive due process and sensible regulation. Veterans, seniors, and other kratom customers in the US should not have to pay the price for the DEA failing to play by the rules."
Dr. Addie Davis, a resident physician in emergency medicine in California, said: "The CDC has actually recognized the use of prescription narcotics and particularly the number of deaths resulting from their use as a national epidemic causing thousands of deaths every year. In 2014 there were over 14,000 resulting from narcotic abuse. On the flip side, there is kratom. Kratom is an herb that is not very well known but I happen to know plenty of people who use it. It is not new. It has many uses, some of which include managing fatigue, depression and anxiety. Most pertinent to my career, however, is kratom's ability to help people manage chronic pain. I have seen many people wean themselves off of opiates successfully with the aid of kratom. In contrast to prescription narcotics, kratom is not dangerous and is non-habit forming. Kratom is not an opiate. Its active alkaloids work on mu-opioid, serotonin and dopaminergic receptors in the brain. It cannot cause respiratory depression, unlike prescription narcotics. Kratom has clear health benefits and it is used by thousands of people in this country every day. If kratom is scheduled as a schedule I substance, many of the people who use it for pain control will likely return to using prescription narcotics. This will result in thousands of deaths annually."
Pat Anson, founder and editor, Pain News Network, said: "Our survey provides the biggest and clearest overall picture to date of what is actually going on in the world of kratom use. What we see here are people with real issues and concerns who will be in a tough spot if the DEA bans kratom use. The survey findings dispel the myth that kratom is used recreationally like marijuana by people who only want to get high. The vast majority say they use kratom solely to treat and manage their medical conditions."
The DEA is now seeking to ban kratom, or Mitragyna speciose, a tree in the coffee family native to Southeast Asia. Kratom leaves have been consumed 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 medicinal 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.
For more information about concerns raised about the DEA war on kratom, go to
http://www.painnewsnetwork.org/stories/2016/9/13/kratom-supporters-rally-at-white-house and http://www.snopes.com/kratom-banned-by-the-dea/.
ABOUT THE GROUPS
Pain News Network is a 501(c)(3) non-profit, independent online news source for information and commentary about chronic pain and pain management. The Network's mission is to raise awareness about chronic pain, and to connect and educate pain sufferers, caregivers, healthcare providers and the public about the pain experience. http://www.painnewsnetwork.org/overview/
The America Kratom Association (AKA), 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. From Lyme Disease to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and even addiction, kratom can help offer relief. www.americankratom.org
The Botanical Education Alliance (BEA) 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/
CAN'T PARTICIPATE?: A streaming audio replay of this news event and full survey results will be available as of 3 p.m. EDT/noon PDT on September 20, 2016 at http://www.painnewsnetwork.org/kratom-survey/.
SOURCE Pain News Network, Washington DC