WASHINGTON, March 1, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — A total of 26,047 Americans signed a petition to Donald Trump urging the new president to halt the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA)/Food and Drug Administration (FDA) push to criminalize kratom. The online petition was launched by the American Kratom Association (AKA) on December 19, 2016. In late November, AKA released a report by one of the world’s leading addiction experts concluding that kratom has no more potential for abuse and dependence than nutmeg and St. John’s Wort. The petition and list of signers is being presented to the White House today by the American Kratom Association. American Kratom Association Director Susan Ash said: “We are sending a strong message from the kratom community to the new White House that the attack on kratom producers and consumers must end. There is no room in an Administration committed to limited government and allowing responsible adults to live free lives for the DEA’s regulatory overkill response to kratom. Coming as this does just weeks after the DEA comment period attracted 23,000 some comments that were 99 percent opposed to a kratom ban, the message for President Trump could not be clearer.” The petition to the new President reads in part as follows: “Your promise to end excessive government regulations and restore the limited role of government in the lives of Americans is the reason that we are appealing to you today. The three-five million Americans who choose to use the natural herb kratom to maintain their well-being desperately need your help. We are concerned that the Drug Enforcement Administration may soon choose to curb access to this herb … If the DEA has not acted by January 21st, we ask that you put an end to regulatory proceedings targeting kratom. The DEA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration have openly declared war on kratom consumers, and these agencies are blatantly abusing their powers to criminalize both those who produce and sell kratom products, and those who purchase and consume them. These federal regulators are doing all they can to deny American consumers their freedom to make individual choices on the safe products they want to use to maintain their health and well-being. Despite credible evidence proving kratom is no more addictive than a cup of coffee, and its use presents no threat to the public health, the DEA and the FDA are continuing their efforts to classify kratom as a dangerous drug – with the same classification as heroin or cocaine. Who are we? We are veterans … and lawyers … and factory workers … and school teachers … and health care professionals. We are mothers and fathers … and grandparents and senior citizens. We are the real face of America. Our choice to consume kratom does not make us ‘drug abusers’ any more than drinking a cup of coffee would …” The American Kratom Association is proud to be playing an instrumental role in helping to coordinate the broad-based national opposition to the DEA’s attempt to effectively ban kratom. In addition to creating the Petition Trump For Kratom campaign, AKA also:
- Coordinated with the American Coalition of Free Citizens to release a February 2, 2017 analysis showing that 99.1 percent of the 23,116 comments submitted to the DEA during a late 2016 public comment period (see below) opposed banning kratom. Of the 2,416 commenters who listed a profession, nearly half (48 percent) were veterans, law enforcement officials, health care professionals, and scientists. This group of 1,175 professionals came down strongly in favor of kratom and against a ban: 754 versus 9 … for a pro-kratom support level of 98.7 percent.
- Led the charge when the DEA opened a public comment period running through December 1, 2016. Of the more than 23,000 comments submitted before the deadline closed, the KratomComments.org Web site created by AKA was responsible for 16,379 comments – roughly 71 percent of total comments received at Regulations.gov. (The AKA campaign Web site is now inactive.)
- Issued on November 30, 2016 a long-awaited analysis by Dr. Jack Henningfield, Ph.D., vice president of Research, Health Policy, and Abuse Liability at PinneyAssociates, concluding that there is “insufficient evidence” for the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) to ban or otherwise restrict kratom under the Controlled Substances Act. According to the comprehensive Henningfield analysis, kratom’s potential for abuse and dependence is no greater than such widely used and unscheduled substances as “nutmeg, hops, St. John’s Wort, chamomile, guarana, and kola nut.”
- Conducted in November 2016 an online survey of 105 emergency room (ER)/trauma health care professionals that found zero reported cases of deaths related to kratom. The new poll of America’s front-line medical professionals also uncovered precisely zero percent support among those surveyed for a DEA ban on the coffee-like herb kratom.
- Encouraged a set of two letters sent on October 1, 2016 by a politically diverse group of 11 Senators, including Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-UT), Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ), calling on the DEA to halt the proposed scheduling and allow for a regular rulemaking process permitting the public, scientific experts, and Congress to provide input.
- Facilitated letters to the DEA and the Office of Management and Budget sent on September 2, 2016 by a bipartisan group of 51 U.S. House Members urging a halt to the DEA’s push to ban kratom.
- Worked with the Pain News Network on a September 2016 survey of 6150 kratom users about their experience with the herb.
- Promoted a successful and widely publicized September 13, 2016 “March for Kratom” in September at the White House.
- Circulated a “We The People” petition targeting the White House that accumulated more than 142,000 signatures.
SOURCE American Kratom Association, Washington, DC