If you’ve read my blog before, you’ve seen me talk about Kratom, a natural leaf related to coffee that has amazing pain management properties without the terrible side-effects of opiates. If you’ve read the news lately, you’ve probably heard a bunch of people with no actual knowledge or experience going bananas about how kratom is eeevilll. The DEA wants to ban it, making it a Schedule I drug. This is insane and irresponsible.
Kratom has been shown to help people addicted to opiates wean themselves off with fewer side effects (again, read my previous post – written before people started freaking out that there might be something that helped people and began banning it). Kratom helps people with chronic, debilitating pain, such as Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome. As a person with hypermobility-type Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, I live in excruciating pain. Some days, merely walking from one room to the next is impossible. People who have never experienced this level of pain are incapable of understanding, but if you’ve ever dislocated a joint or jammed a toe or pinky, consider that level of pain – at the moment of injury, often in several joints at once, every single day. Kratom actually helps with this pain.
As someone with this debilitating pain, I have occasionally been prescribed opiates (as most of you would be if your hips and spine torqued to the point you couldn’t walk). When i have been prescribed these, I save them for the absolute worst days when I cannot walk, or turn a key, or write my name. I save them for nights when I cannot sleep because my entire body is wracked with pain and I am in tears. Keep in mind that the average person with EDS has a much higher tolerance for pain than those who do not have the condition. We also are resistant to many painkillers and anesthetics. I have woken up during surgery more than once. Here’s the thing about opiates: they make me tired. They make it hard to focus. They don’t fully get rid of the pain, they just make you care less about it.
Now let’s discuss kratom. With kratom, the pain often goes completely away for several hours. i have more energy, and I am able to focus. I don’t feel high, the way I sometimes do with prescribed opiates. I feel like a fully-functional, normal human being. I am able to do things that I used to do, like cleaning the house, going to a museum, commuting on the subway, attending parent-teacher conferences, etc. without having to push through pain and hold back tears. I do not take it to get a high, I take it so that i can do the things the people making judgments about it take for granted. You can get up, get dressed, exercise, go to work, come home, make dinner, tidy up, etc. without thinking about it. I have to plan everything out meticulously and hope I can make it through a day (see the Spoon Theory). Kratom gives me a chance to live a normal life, to be there for my kids, to keep up with everyone and everything important to me. The DEA wants to take this lifeline away from thousands of people struggling with chronic pain.
Keep in mind, also, that there is a huge national scare about opioid addiction right now. Laws are getting tighter and tighter on the prescribing of opiates. Doctors who have been prescribing percocet, vicodin, etc. to patients with chronic pain are now not allowed to write the prescriptions they used to (in many family practices, it has been banned to avoid investigation by authorities). Many pharmacies no longer will fill these prescriptions if people get them. So, we have people who live with debilitating, life-altering pain who are having their usual prescribed lifeline taken away. Most states do not allow for medical marijuana, and some states, like New York, make the hoops you have to jump through to get it impossible for those who are disabled. This leaves kratom – an option that works wonders for pain, and doesn’t cloud the mind (and can help cure opioid addiction to boot!). But wait! The government doesn’t want people to have respite from the pain that is destroying their lives because someone somewhere might be intending to use it for a high. Well, with all of the possible legal options for pain relief gone, and the reliable places to get genuine kratom shut down, what do you think will happen? If you have a brain, you will see that this will lead to people seeking illegal drugs that may be impure, tainted, or counterfeit. This will drive UP heroin addiction, and will no doubt lead to people selling dangerously tainted kratom on the streets. It’s as if government agencies have lost all sense of reason, and are condemning people to a life of pain, or worse.
Just because something makes someone feel better, doesn’t make it bad. Read the links, check the stats, and realize that thousands of people will become completely disabled, unable to work, and live lives of misery and pain if every single option is taken away from them. If you don’t think people should be condemned to a life of pain and misery, please contact your congresspeople, sign a petition, share some links. Kratom is not the enemy.