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A Modest Proposal for Ending the Opiate Addiction Epidemic

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A modest proposal for ending the opiate addiction epidemic

When there is a health crisis like the epidemic of opioid drug addiction, which has even morphed in many cases into a heroin addiction epidemic, why must the solution be limited to another synthetic drug?

To the general public, especially those victims of the addiction epidemic, this looks like a "gimme" to the pharmaceutical industry. We have a perfectly acceptable, uniquely affordable and time-tested product being used right now, called Kratom. The FDA is well aware of it. I have heard from an industry insider (Michael McGuffin) that the FDA's concern with legal Kratom is its addiction potential.

No, that's not a joke!

If addiction is the FDA's issue, shouldn't coffee bear the same warnings about habituation and dependency? From the rough overview I have done of the Kratom community, the concensus is that most consumers have no need to increase the doses they use for pain control, and they experience no significant symptoms of withdrawal when they stop.

The FDA currently allows many addictive pharmaceutical products to be marketed and sold in the U.S.; why should one more be a problem? Especially one that has zero potential for lethality by itself and is causing no particular drug interaction issues?

Time is wasting for the many drug addicts who would love to get clean, but the barrier that scares them off is the well-known withdrawal agony. Kratom is known for taming this fearsome ordeal, so why don't we let it?

People are dying from prescription drug interactions and overdoses. How can the FDA say that addiction to Kratom, if it even exists, is worse than death by overdose?

"Addiction to Kratom" is a laughable term for those who have used and quit the herb repeatedly. Addiction, like beauty, is in the mind of the beholder. Many people who have legally become addicted to narcotics will be pleased to find the few and minor side-effects of Kratom compared to opiates and opioids. There are effective ways to manage these few insignificant negatives.

Meanwhile, In the Ole Miss Laboratory...

I am watching with amusement as Dr. Christopher R. McCurdy works with insufficient funding to turn Kratom into another single-ingredient pharmaceutical drug, as a safer replacement for methadone. His work to show the inherent safety of the herb itself is valuable. It should be sufficient, by itself, to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of Kratom for immediate use by those wishing to quit opiates or opioid drugs.

Refining Kratom down to one key alkaloid may or may not have the same safety as the natural herb, which contains not only opioid agonist activity, but also opioid receptor antagonists. This perhaps accounts for the reduced tendency for true addiction with Kratom.

We are waiting for the pharmaceutical industry to have a profitable opportunity to solve the problem they created. Meanwhile, their dishonest marketing of oxycodone as having very low addiction potential has caused many deaths. These are people who could have been saved by letting them know of Kratom's effectiveness as an addiction recovery tool.

Admittedly, Kratom is a problem child by FDA standards. Like any herb, there are concerns about cleanliness, adulteration with synthetic drugs (a rare occurrence in my experience), and uniformity. All these factors need to be addressed, but they pale in importance to the cost of addiction, untreated pain, and personal loss when there is a death by overdose.

It is interesting, amusing even, to watch the CDC's response to the crisis. Pain patients and their advocates want more opioids prescribed and those agencies & businesses who are paying for the drugs want to restrict access. All the while no one is considering the third option: Kratom.

It's too bad we, the Kratom advocates, are not allowed a seat at the table. From what I have seen and heard in the Kratom community, this botanical does a much better job at taking care of pain, helping to get patients off narcotics, not requiring ever-increasing doses to provide relief; and providing the cost savings the corporate managers want. What's not to like?

Actually, the only ones losing out in this proposed solution to the addiction crisis caused by the pharmaceutical industry are the industry leaders themselves and the heroin dealers...seems very fair to me.

http://drugwonks.com/blog/cdc-gets-it-transparently-wrong-on-opioids

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/should-Kratom-be-legal/

http://fortune.com/2011/11/09/oxycontin-purdue-pharmas-painful-medicine/

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