Kratom madness in the news ; our reply!

Posted on June 29, 2013 by


We have seen a number of kratom stories in the news lately, whereby kratom was being portrayed by some websites and newspapers as a dangerous new drug. For those willing to read beyond headlines only, I have added a letter and comment from Jonny. Jonny is an active member of the Kratom Association, who spends a large deal of his time debunking all the kratom-nonsense that is spread around us.

Here we do;

Recently there was a news story regarding Kratom on the KING 5 news, where a young lady, who has a long history of drug abuse, had recently gotten herself clean using kratom, but she had died while having anti-seizure medication (a pharmaceutical in her) and other chemicals, including kratom.

There has never been any recorded deaths related to kratom directly, so I had written a letter (from my personal email) to the Chief Criminal Deputy in the news story regarding his comments about Kratom. I am sharing my letter with everyone as an example in case any of you want to write a letter of your own.

Here is the KING5 video:
(The email address for the Chief Criminal Deputy Charlie Rosenzweig is not published but available for those that want to react as well)

Here is the letter Jonny send him:

Dear Charlie Rosenzweig,

I am writing you because of the insightful interview you gave on KING 5 News recently regarding kratom usage. Normally I wouldn’t feel it necessary to reach out to a public official such as yourself regarding such matters, but I can tell you are a very intelligent and caring person who strives to make a difference in society. I understand firsthand the travesty of what drug abuse and ‘bath salt’ type products have done to our communities. I feel this is an important subject that requires our immediate attention, and we can all work together to be more effective in educating and understanding where the key fundamental problems lie.

There is a dangerous trend taking place right now of healing herbs like kratom being blacklisted and our natural health remedies being villainized in favor of big pharma’s solutions. I believe this is due to a lack of education in these matters. Did you know that everyday 90 people are killed by FDA-approved prescription drugs, and that’s the conservative number published by the Journal of the American Medical Association. As no one seems to believe these numbers are real, I’ll quote the source: The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) Vol 284, No 4, July 26th 2000, authored by Dr Barbara Starfield, MD, MPH, of the Johns Hopkins School of Hygiene and Public Health. That study, which is twelve years old — and drug deaths have risen considerably since then — documents 106,000 deaths per year from the “adverse effects” of FDA-approved prescription medications. I urge you to check out a very insightful documentary on Youtube here: <;

Meanwhile, drug dealers, and pharmaceutical companies, with help from big pharma’s privately funded UN Codex Alimentarius agenda, have waged a P.R. campaign targeting beneficial herbs to convince us that vitamins and teas are detrimental to our health and untested. Even though they have an extremely long track recorded of being used safely. The key problem with kratom usage is there has been a lack of good information available to the public at this time and it has been marketing alongside synthetic ‘legal highs’ in gas station. That is changing with the information age and people making better health choices as consumers. I don’t believe kratom is the real problem here, but once you understand it, you might see how it is part of the solution.

First of all, let me introduce myself. I am educated in the field of addictions studies, counseling, pharmacology, and psychology. I have had hands on experience with people suffering from addictions and those who have used kratom (mitragyna speciosa) to heal themselves, free themselves of opiate addictions, pain, depression, anxiety, and to take their life back. Does it work for everyone? Of course not. Each person has their own constitution.

I can tell you that kratom has been grossly defamed, misunderstood, and misrepresented in the news. I don’t blame the public servants, such as yourself, for having bias, as there hasn’t been a lot of good information given to you guys. Perhaps I can help fill in some gaps so you can make up your own opinion. Not only is this tree highly beneficial, but it is directly related to coffee in the Rubicea family.

Kratom has been used in traditional Thai medicine for diabetics to lower blood sugar levels, deworming, it lowers blood pressure, it is anti-anxiety (anxiolytic), analgesic (anti-pain), relieves stress, cures opiate addiction, and more. It has been used by veterans to relieve PTSD, and there are woman in their 50’s getting relief using it as a soap to treat M.S. while making them more alert. It has even gotten rid of psoriasis by people making it into a paste and putting it on the body. The properties of kratom dependency make withdraw from it very short term in severity comparable to caffeine, as one does not get a “high” from kratom. However, you do get the ability to feel normal, be more alert, stress free, and go about your day in a very optimistic way. Those who try to take too much become ‘nauseous’, and don’t try it again.

Contrary to news reports, smoking kratom is very unpleasant, ineffective, and is a myth at best. Even drinking kratom is extremely bitter and is not favored by thrills seekers or party people. When people try and abuse kratom, it doesn’t work, and they usually take themselves off it very quickly.

And while kratom is a new phenomenon in the news media, thanks to the awful bath salts craze, it has been used safely for thousands of years. Only in recent years have we seen kratom being marketed as a ‘wonder herb’ due to many of its incredible beneficial properties, which out weight any potential setbacks. Much to the disappointment of the thousands of people that are helped by kratom, a small group of irresponsible individuals have decided to market kratom irresponsibly with advertised adulterants and fancy mylar packaging, while there are many sources of plain and organic/natural kratom leaf available today in transparent packaging. Those items have been blacklisted quickly from herbal watchdog organizations, associations, and those who are studying kratom for academic reasons.

Please understand that kratom was banned in Thailand in 1943 because it was helping cure opium addiction, as the Thai government made a lot of money from the opium tax. Since then it has been embraced by their culture everywhere. Kratom’s ability to cure opium addictions has long since been known and has very much been studied, as you will see in the recent clip at the University of Mississippi: <;

Kratom is also loaded with antioxidants like epicatectin and other beneficial alkaloids, and it is being studied for treating cancer, as well as it relieves the symptoms of it. Please see the following clip of a cancer patient in Germany who uses kratom to feel ‘better’ on Youtube: <;

Those who use kratom responsibly, and get it from a verified source online, switch varieties, and avoid ‘high potency extracts’ and ‘synthetic products’, can use kratom for a long term period to maintain a peace of mind and lifestyle. It is especially useful in those who suffer from depression. In fact, kratom is mostly used like a coffee by responsible users, and those who enjoy a healthy lifestyle, as it also aides in one’s ability to focus and concentrate. It is not for the ‘party scene’ as some of these irresponsible individuals have tried to market it is for, but it is rather benign and gentle. It does not damage the kidneys or liver, and there are no recorded deaths or fatalities, regardless of the assumptions made on the recent King 5 news story.

I am aware that the media would like to call this incredibly beneficial leaf a ‘drug’ due to the fact that The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) began putting out warning bulletins about kratom as early as 2005, saying it’s used “by young Thai militants… to make them ‘more bold and fearless and easy to control.'” The DEA warning also mentions “several cases of kratom psychosis” where kratom users “exhibited psychotic symptoms of hallucinations, delusions, and confusion.” The bulletin doesn’t cite its sources, but its key data on addiction rates is identical to Dr. Suwanlert’s antiquated seven-page gloss from 1975.

The 1975 report cited has since been found to be based on unfounded science and assumptions which have since been dismissed. Needless to say, the D.E.A.’s facts were not based on robust research and data. One such idea in this report has said ‘kratom users would get a darkening of the cheeks and discoloration in their face’. Experts have now found that kratom users have increased melanin production, get tanned easier and protection from the sun. Thus explaining the assumptions made in the 1975 study which observed workers in the sun.

I can tell you right now that I have witnessed many people who’ve used this gentle herb for years, and while some misunderstand its usage, it has helped a lot of people, and I have never seen a psychosis caused by kratom, and neither have those that study it in academic settings. It is absurd to think people would engage in any kind of criminal activity on kratom, such as the woman you described holding an axe in your interview, as it relaxes those who use it and gives energy. I can only assume that she must have had a pre-existing condition, been on bath salts, or had been on some other kind of narcotic. Sometimes people who commit crimes eat Kellog’s Cornflakes for breakfast, but that does not empirically link the corn flakes to an incident. Should this be the case with kratom, we would see a lot more similar incidents over kratom’s long history of usage, and that has not been the case.

In fact, kratom has been linked to ancient Buddhism, where it was called Kadembra in ancient texts, and it was used for meditation, prayer, and peace of mind. It does not give you a ‘high’ but a mindset of clarity and peace to go about your day.

In fact, any problems people have had with ‘addiction to kratom’ are those that were using adulterated products, or individuals suffering with other addictive tendencies, and they tried to beat them with the tea, but hadn’t dealt with their pre-existing underlying conditions. Even then, most people can heal themselves and move forward without incident. Sometimes people have become tolerant quicker than others due to the use of high potency extracts and synthetics products on the market, which are becoming rarer all the time, as the leaf on its own is extremely effective.

Kratom is not going to work for everyone, but when used responsibly, it is highly effective and safe for the long term picture. It has no toxicity levels and is a very tall tree that grows organically in the jungles. It has been a welcomed alternative to cigarettes, pain pills, alcohol, and many other vices, so people can have peace of mind, be happy, healthy, optimistic, and pain free. It helps people to be better workers and live more fulfilled lives during periods when we might not be able to do so on their own.

Let me assure you that I have spoken to key people involved in studying kratom, and policy makers, who have spoken to the DEA directly, who’ve said they are leaving the law making process up to each State individually to make their own decisions, hence the federal budget that would be involved with enforcing such policies.

Unfortunately, many of the States have gotten their science regarding kratom directly from the pharmaceutical companies, or doctors who are biased in thinking anything that doesn’t come in a pill is antiquated, which is being challenged continuously by modern studies (such as the University of Mississippi clip I referenced above) and the testimonies of those who use it effectively.

In key States, such as Louisiana, they have recognized the incredible testimonies of experts, clinical herbalists, and users, by protecting access to kratom through raising the age of purchase to 18 years of age.

Recently, the Vermont Legislative Committee on Administrative Rules met Thursday, 0800, 1/24/13 at the Vermont State House to discuss Kratom policies. This was to be the final ruling on whether kratom (the alkaloid 7-Hydroxy-Mitragynine) would remain on a banned substances list creating a gray area regarding the legality of Kratom in ground and simple tincture forms. These are a chain of events that took place which ultimately secured kratom leaf in its organic form to be made available in a responsible fashion, but restricting the synthetics and high potency extracts that have been problematic:
* Clinical Herbalist, Justin Garner of Sweet Flag Medicinals in Brattleboro, VT and Bill Lockwood (a vendor), testified as part of the agenda. The LCAR committee was very receptive of the testimony which:
* Compared Kratom to Krypton, a designer drug (synthetic opiate) that used Kratom as a carrier/bulker to cut 0-DT – a more potent form of tramadol
* Identified the many uses of Kratom by reading user testimonies. These were key in humanizing the issue, attaching the wellbeing of your families, etc
* Noted the huge increase in opiate pain killer prescriptions, and the corresponding increases in deaths due to accidental overdose
* Corrected some misinformation from the department of health
* 25g Kratom dose – that doesn’t sound good
* Banned in Europe – actually Sweden due to the Krypton deaths
* Banned Indonesia – actually Thailand due to Act 2486 of 1943, to enforce Opiate taxes
* The LCAR Chair suggested that the rule was unclear. Did a ban on 7HM mean a ban on Kratom in its natural state?
* This was interesting, and ultimately it was decided that the threat was ultra-potent synthesized 7HM or isolated 7HM was the risk – after all this is a bath salts bill
* The committee recommended that Kirk Kimball (Dept. Of Health Organic Chemistry Program Chief and Bessie Weiss (Dept. Health Legal Counsel) take another week to create language in the bill that specifically targets isolated and/or synthesized 7HM and not the whole Kratom leaf
* Richard Marek, the Chair of the Committee, made it clear that the bill as it stood created a gray area for those that distribute and consume kratom – and that the practice of law creation didn’t like gray areas. He suggested a gray that would make Justin and myself uncomfortable. It was left that the target was the 7HM in a form that could be abused and not the beneficial Kratom leaf
* It seemed by the end of the meeting, the Committee was educated on the benefits of Kratom and that its typically cited drawbacks did not out weigh the benefits
* Letters sent in to the Board of Health, Kirk/Bessie, should have (and may have) also gone to the LCAR committee. As a learning we see that the non-scientific parts of state government are more concerned with compassion and the human aspect; whereas the Department of Health is concerned with safety and drawbacks as opposed to health as a whole.
* Luckily the Dept. of Health also agrees that the threat of abuse is 7HM alone and that Kratom is not a threat in a non-enriched form
The champion of the hearing was Linda, a sufferer of Lyme disease, and the extreme anxiety that accompanies it. Linda read her prepared and succinct testimony. As she went on she struggled more and more to be able to speak, at times sounding like she’d burst into tears. She showed the committee real proof that there was a human need for Kratom, and that this was an issue of compassion not to be taken lightly. For a complete fact sheet used at this hearing, with foot notes, please see the following link: <;

I believe the recent tragic story on KING5 News regarding the young lady who died from respiratory depression while taking kratom and other chemical substances, was no doubt caused by the anti-seizure medication itself, or a new substance all together, rather than kratom. That is a known side effect of such medications, but is not one of the reported side effects of kratom, as there is no conclusive proof that the kratom was problematic for her. Logic dictates that the kratom would have caused a problem long before, had that been the case. This is further substantiated by the studies done by Dr. Edward Boyer, who is the medical toxicologist at Children’s Hospital Boston, a teaching hospital for Harvard Medical School. He claims, “there have been no human case reports in which respiratory depression has occurred following a large dose—any dose, really—of kratom use. That makes it different from opioids, which makes it a plus.”

It is sad that the news media has decided to hop on the band wagon to go after this healing leaf. Kratom does not belong in gas stations with high potency extracts added to it, or enclosed in fancy mylar “envelopes” with half naked women on it. This product belongs alongside tea and coffee, from bulk from botanical suppliers, herbal outlets, and vitamin stores, where reputable people can give information on regions and specifics that can be scrutinized with field experts. That is the trend we see now online in the kratom community. We do not have to make a big deal out of kratom, as it has been around for many years now, but please understand when there is a media hysteria or a ‘craze’, people want to see what all the hype is about. Of course, there are others who wish to profit from this craze.

Please let me remind you that when coffee was first introduced into society it was associated with the Bohemian types and those who were up to no good, and now it is on every street corner and the staple of every work place. In closing, all I ask is that you please keep an open mind to the benefits of kratom and it’s incredible healing properties. It is doing a lot of good out there, and it is a real shame that the media has focused on a culture of negativity by cultivating fear, paranoia, and sensationalism. Some have even looked at a great media conspiracy, as they have been organized with an attack agenda against kratom. One might cite the coverage of Fox News reporters, who tried to cover a story on Monsanto, who were threatened to lose their jobs if they didn’t stick to a particular agenda funded by big corporate agendas.

Please believe me, big pharma would like to see kratom gone for good, as it is competing with them, and they do have outstanding patents on its alkaloids. I would urge you to make your own opinion of kratom rather than believe the ‘hype’. Protecting kratom means protecting our fundamental freedoms, and preserving the choice to take back our health.

Thank you for your valuable time and doing such an incredible job. I appreciate you wholeheartedly for what you are doing!



Thanks Jonny!

Pls folks , keep in mind that kratom is just a herb, used for thousands of years and probably as long as mankind, it hasnt caused any fatalities and it was always regarded as a save herb in history. Since kratom is still a bit unknown, it is likely to be “stigmatized” whenever it is found during accidents like the one described. But one has to keep in mind that kratom is also a life saver for tens (if not hundreds) of thousands of folks.For those dealing with dangerous addictions, for those suffering for terminal pain, extreme anxiety, depressions, even post-war syndromes, ..and so on..kratom has been a very welcome and effective herb. It would not be acceptable that kratom is been taken away from those that need it, simply because it is not portrayed well in the media , or because some county sheriff is convinced that its an evil herb. So pls join us in our struggle to educate the public, media and authorties, and keep this miracle herb kratom available for those that really are helped by it!  Join Jonny in his struggle, join the kratom association and help us to keep this great herb legal !

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