Kris asked me a while back, a long while, to write a post for their blog. I said yes… Since then I have made myself half crazy trying to think of what to write.
That may be normal for some folks, but for me it is unusual. Anyone that follows American Kratom Association, AKA for short, may have seen my name on multiple posts, numerous emails and a few Call to Actions… it is part of what I do. I fight for kratom! I fight for those that can’t, those that won’t and yes even those that think I/AKA should not be fighting at all. I have fought for kratom since I first found it, or so it would seem. It is a fight I chose, willingly. It is a fight I believe in and most of all, it is a fight I feel privileged to be a part of. I need people to understand this fight is NOT just about us though…
As an AKA board member I am blessed to have the most amazing volunteers I have ever worked with. Believe me when I say, I have been working with volunteers for most of my life, I am one myself and there is no title I hold more dear. Most of our volunteers refer to me as Momma Bear and it fits. I fight harder for them, all of them, than I do for myself. I fight for a plant that has brought life back to those that barely existed. I fight for a plant that has brought hope to the hopeless and given some measure of comfort to those that had little or none. This plant that I fight for, along side of so many that I am privileged to be involved with, has given me my life back. Not from opioids, or street drugs, but from chronic, unremitting, barely tolerable pain and misery.
I am blessed to serve on a board of some of the most intelligent, caring, dedicated fighters I have ever met. One of the proudest moments, there have been a lot with AKA, I have yet experienced, was to see three white-haired older gentleman, sitting on a dais in Atlanta, GA doing a press conference defending this plant! I can listen to any one of them speak and get a bit emotional, but when the three of them speak together… It is simply amazing.
We, so many of us in the kratom community, have done something that NO ONE else has done in over 80 attempts by the DEA. We stopped them in their attempt to ban this plant in 2016. We are still fighting that same fight today in 2018. We have not YET won, but we WILL! I know this as surely as I know that I need kratom as much as I need air to live.
I want to share this in closing, it was written today by our Chairman Dave Herman. I also want to thank Kris for allowing me this opportunity to write and for all of you involved in this fight with me, with US.
With Utmost Respect,
“Open Letter to the FDA: End the Attacks on Alternative Pain Management Therapies”
Dear Commissioner Gottlieb,
On November 1, 2017 the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis issued a blistering rebuke of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and its failures to protect public health.
Despite rising numbers of overdoses and opioid-related fatalities, the FDA’s “inadequate oversight” failed to assure the safety, efficacy, and security of human drugs, significantly contributing to the opioid crisis in America today.
Citing nearly two decades of insufficient regulatory oversight on opioids, the Commission detailed the specific failures to protect public safety, even when overdose deaths mounted and when evidence of safe use of chronic consumers of opioids was substantially lacking.
Unfortunately, the FDA’s reaction to this criticism has been to unleash its regulatory powers on other alternative pain management therapies used by millions of Americans precisely to avoid dangerously addictive and deadly opioid medications.
Instead of addressing and overcoming the FDA’s failures in this regard, an increasingly hostile war has been waged against the following safe, non-addictive alternatives:
Homeopathic Medicines: Since 1988, the FDA has allowed the marketing and use of homeopathic medicines under the conditions set forth in the Compliance Policy Guide, Section 400.400, “Conditions Under Which Homeopathic Drugs May be Marketed.” On December 18, 2017, the FDA proposed a new, risk-based enforcement approach to homeopathic drug products that many believe is targeted specifically to pain management products that become very popular among those who use homeopathic medicines.
Medical Foods: On November 21, 2017 the FDA recategorized a medical food used by thousands of patients suffering from osteoarthritis to control their chronic pain. This medical food product had been recognized by the FDA for more than 13 years, but in the wake of the Commission’s report, the FDA rescinded its recognition of Limbrel as a medical food, and reclassified it as an unapproved new drug.
Kratom: The FDA announced a Public Safety Alert on kratom on November 14, 2017 claiming, incorrectly, that kratom was responsible for 36 deaths and that kratom has the same addiction and safety profile as opioids. The FDA continued its attack on kratom by increasing the number of deaths “associated with the use of kratom” and with further unsubstantiated claims that kratom is an “opioid” drug. Despite the fact that millions of Americans use kratom for relief of acute and chronic pain – and some use kratom as either a step-down from opioid abuse or as an alternative to dangerously addictive and potentially deadly opioid medications – the FDA is using all of its regulatory powers to remove kratom from consumer access in the United States.
Rather than accept (1) the documented deficiencies in fulfilling FDA regulatory responsibilities to protect the public health, and (2) to embrace the recommendations of the Commission to expand the use of non-opioid pain management therapies, the FDA has embarked on a crusade against all non-FDA approved alternative pain management therapies.
This will ultimately force patients to either acquire kratom and other alternative pain management therapies on the black market (where product quality is both suspect and potentially harmful), or to force consumers to the opioid prescription drug market. Several credentialed scientists have already predicted this will result in more opioid-related deaths in America.
If continued, the FDA’s attacks on alternative pain management therapies will create a far more dangerous and potentially deadly pain management treatment environment. Patients seeking relief from acute or chronic pain have no desire to be forced into using opioid painkillers or become criminals as a result of the crusade against kratom.
On behalf of millions of kratom users safely using this natural botanical for their own health and well-being, end this attack on kratom and other alternative pain management therapies.
Robin Graham holds degrees in business management and accounting and has provided services to a variety of organizations. Amongst these is the American Red Cross, for which she has provided training, fundraising, community outreach and disaster deployment training.
For over 25 years Robin has worked tirelessly with nonprofits and this has led to her work with the American Kratom Association (AKA). She is a member of the AKA board and is a passionate advocate for kratom and kratom users in the US.