My Comment on Kratom to the DEA

The comment I submitted to the DEA about Kratom. 

Agency: Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)
Document Type: Rulemaking
Title: Comment on FR Doc # 2016-24659
Document ID: DEA-2016-0015-0693

I am a practicing attorney who has seen first hand how the Government’s thoughtless scheduling of controlled substances has destroyed lives. I have further seen how it has created a black market that directly enriches criminals and terrorist organizations. If an adult would like to consume Kratom to improve his health and well-being the Government should not ban the substance. Criminalizing Kratom would create a black market for the product on the dark web where there will be no regulation or oversight of what is being sold to consumers.

Prohibition does not work. The US attempted to prohibit the consumption of alcohol and it had deadly results. The prohibition of alcohol led to dangerous moonshine that blinded and killed people as well as the rise of criminal bootlegging and large organized crime. Heroin is a schedule 1 controlled substance yet its use is at an all-time high. Further, deaths from heroin/opiates are at a record high because the scheduling of heroin led to it becoming an underground product sold by criminals with no oversight. These criminals add adulterants such as fentanyl to the heroin they sell on the street, which leads to unnecessary deaths.

I have read many studies regarding the use of Kratom to help individuals recovering from heroin addiction. Outlawing Kratom will take away this tool for recovery and it will absolutely lead to unnecessary deaths.

The Federal Government should not be regulating morality. It is reasonable to restrict sales to minors or even to require an FDA warning against consumption but to outlaw the plant or its derivatives is beyond reason.

Kratom has been used for decades by individuals in the US and hundreds of years outside the US. As far as I am aware only 15 deaths have listed Kratom use as a possible cause. 14 of those 15 cases involved the mixing of Kratom with illegal substances. However, even if one considers all 15 of these deaths to be somehow related to Kratom use it would not justify the banning of the substance and would absolutely not be a reason for an emergency scheduling of the substance. Alcohol kills more people in a single day that Kratom ever has. Tobacco products kill more people in a day that all kratom involved deaths on record in the US. The Government is willing to tax and build wealth off of the death of tobacco and alcohol users so this reasoning for a ban is flawed.

Moreover, both alcohol and tobacco use pose dangers to non-users. Second-hand smoke kills and causes asthma. Alcohol leads to violent crime, drunk driving, and otherwise but non-users in harm’s way. This is not the case with Kratom. Someone taking a kratom tablet does not give off any second-hand smoke to injure those around him. 33% of traffic fatalities are the result of alcohol consumption. Conversely, Kratom ingestion has not been connected to a single traffic fatality in the US.

This country has a drug problem. The problem is the crisis of imprisoning people for using substances that are scheduled arbitrarily and unsuccessfully. There is no reason for Kratom to become a controlled substance. It cannot be justified.

The criminalization of Kratom use would serve no purpose but to enrich criminals, terrorists, and private prisons.

I urge the Federal Government not to pass any laws scheduling or outlawing Kratom.

Thank you for your consideration in this matter.



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