The Denver Department of Environmental Health set off a firestorm in November after it banned kratom, a plant lauded by its champions as a safe pain-relief alternative to opioids and criticized by its detractors as addictive and dangerous. "The decision follows a public-health advisory warning individuals not to consume kratom, a popular herbal substance of Southeast Asian origin that's become more widely available in Colorado over the past few months, issued by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on November 14," wrote Michael Roberts.
Shortly after the announcement, DEH raided a kratom seller, Myxed Up Creations. Although the shop was eventually allowed to transfer its product outside city limits rather than destroy it, Myxed Up founder Phil Guerin says the city missed an opportunity to educate the company...and the public...on kratom. And people are certainly divided on their opinions. Chanell says:
This should be banned! It is highly addictive and just another added way for addicts to get high and fly under the radar because it is not detected on drug tests! I'd like to hear from the people that are now highly addicted to Kratom and find out how they plan to kick the use of it. What ever happened to people getting sober???? Why just switch from one drug to another?
Personally I had alcohol addiction and have used the proper tools to recover as well as my faith. Addiction is addiction, and there are so many forms of it; this is just another substance to get high. Get off your soap box those of you that say it helps you! Find a method that will allow you to truly recover through the proper use of a psychiatrist and managed methods along with counseling and faith if you have it. Recovery is an every day process. It's not once recovered, always recovered. You have to actually put the work in EVERY DAY!!!!!!
I’d probably be dead if I didn’t find Kratom. I was taking opiates, among other things. I was a mess. The Kratom was able to satisfy the need for opiates just enough to prevent me from taking other things. I had tried other "opiate replacement” drugs but they made me just as messed up. Kratom didn’t turn me into a zombie. I’m happy again and my family doesn’t dislike being around me anymore. I’m also back in school and getting my life back on track. I still take Kratom but am actively weaning myself off of it. I can’t imagine where I would be without it.
I can’t imagine why the DEA would want to ban it. Alcohol and tobacco kill so many people a year, but the government isn’t actively trying to ban either of those. I hope they don’t ban Kratom.
Keep reading for more of our stories about kratom.
Denver's ban on kratom attracted national attention. David Kroll, a onetime cancer researcher and Colorado pharmacologist now working in North Carolina as a freelance health journalist for Forbes, is also a nationally recognized expert on kratom. In his view, "banning it is going to hurt more people than it's going to save. That's my scientific prediction."
Kroll's perspective differs from that of Nicholas Moodley, who recently shared his personal story of using kratom to get off opioids — an experience that inspired him to found a Denver-based kratom supply company, Kratom Cafe USA. Kroll is less willing than Moodley to entertain the possibility that the Food and Drug Administration's recent health advisory about the alleged dangers of kratom, which precipitated Denver's actions, represents evidence of a massive effort by Big Pharma to demonize a substance that could cost the industry billions. "I honestly think the FDA did this because it's politically expedient to take action against something that sounds like an opioid," he says.
What do you think about kratom? About Denver's ban? Share your thoughts in a comment, or email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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