I am very concerned with the opiate epidemic happening in America right now. You should be worried, too. Opiate users are getting sicker and becoming more dependent, and the government is forcing doctors to pull back on the number of opiates they prescribe to their patients. Gaining more control over pill numbers may sound like a good idea, but it's not. Chronic pain patients are now limited in or completely taken off of medication they require to live their daily lives, only in an attempt to gain control of opiate addiction. If you're a chronic pain patient like I am, I bet you're worried now!
Kratom is a plant whose leaves can be used medicinally. It has been used for centuries in the places it's grown, such as Indonesia, and it has become a hot-button issue in American politics. It is mood-lifting, energy-giving, and pain-relieving. It works on the same brain receptors as opiates, making it an opiate substitute. Those who are addicted to opiates can use kratom to safely come off of opiates. Therefore, the United States government is trying to wrap its greedy fingers around kratom: it can't make money on pharmaceuticals if they're not being used.
The government has been making grand efforts to change the legality of kratom, citing false information and using fear mongering statements. There have been several deaths falsely linked to kratom, simply because it showed up in the toxicology report when autopsy was performed. It is impossible to overdose on kratom, as your body forces it out when there's too much. Taking too much kratom causes headaches, dizziness, shakiness, and nausea. You see, kratom is in the coffee plant family, and when it overstimulates your body, your body expels it. With that being said, each state has its own fight, which means each state is in its own legal standing.
The "Green" States
There are many states that aren't fighting kratom at all, keeping it legal. The states with no legal concerns in the past, present, or foreseen in the near future are:
• New Hampshire
• New Mexico
• North Carolina
• North Dakota
• Rhode Island
• South Carolina
• South Dakota
• Utah: Kratom was removed from Bill HB0110 that would have listed it as a controlled substance, keeping it legal.
• West Virginia: It was removed from Bill HB2526, allowing it to stay legal.
The "Purple" States
The purple states are currently legal on a state level, but have some stipulations on local levels.
• California: Kratom is legal everywhere except the city of San Diego: important alkaloids were listed as “Novel Psychoactive Drugs,” and banned.
• Florida: Legal everywhere except Sarasota County: It was listed as a “designer drug,” and banned. Bills S0424 and H0183 were introduced in FL in 2017 in an attempt to ban two main alkaloids in kratom, but both failed
The "Orange" States
These states are currently pending legislation against kratom.
• Illinois: It is currently legal to adults 18 years or older. Bills HB4106 and SB2051 were introduced October 2017 to ban kratom altogether are currently pending.
• New Jersey: Currently legal, however, Bill A3281 to criminalize kratom introduced in February 2016 is still pending.
• New York: Currently legal. Bill A00231 introduced January 2017 to ban kratom still pending action.
• Oregon: Bill SB518 was brought in July 2017, calling for further study of kratom by the Directs State Board of Pharmacy. Kratom is still currently legal.
The "Red" States
The red states are currently problem areas, where kratom has been banned, and where attention is needed. Efforts are continuously made in these states to make kratom legal once again.
• Alabama: Banned in 2016.
• Arkansas: Banned in 2016.
• Indiana: Listed as a synthetic drug and then banned.
• Tennessee: Two major alkaloids were banned, effectively banning kratom.
• Vermont: One of the most important alkaloids in kratom has been listed as a regulated drug, which banned kratom.
• Wisconsin: Also listed important alkaloids as Schedule I drugs, banning kratom.
As you can see, kratom legality is an ongoing issue. The FDA continues to work hard in its efforts to ban kratom nationwide. Therefore, those of us who use kratom, or know someone who uses kratom, or those who just see the benefits of kratom need to speak up. We need to speak loudly and with conviction, for those who can't.
This supposed "War On Drugs" is not working. It is not getting enough drugs off of the streets, it's not helping addicts get back on their feet, it's not doing anything but wasting money. I want to see my friends and family thriving in spite of any health issues. I want to see everyone thriving in spite of chronic illnesses!
If you'd like to see what you can do to help the cause, there are several websites you can visit for further details:
About The Author: Sarah is a photographer from the Northeastern U.S., and a writer/activist for the Kratom Community and our Tribe.