Will new laws punish pain patients?
The American Kratom Association (AKA) sent an action alert to members warning that a bill introduced by Sen. Chuck Grassley and Sen. Dianne Feinstein could be a “backdoor way” of banning kratom — an herbal supplement that millions of people use as an alternative to opioid painkillers.
But reform advocates are worried that the bill’s language could be used to justify bans on all manner of substances that are not particularly lethal or dangerous. The drug known as kratom is one particular area of concern. Experts say the risks of using the drug are “remarkably low,” and people who take it say it’s helped them quit using alcohol, opiates and other, much deadlier substances. Because the drug’s primary chemicals act in a similar fashion to some opioids, advocates fear that that the new bill would allow the Department of Justice to outlaw the drug, as it tried, unsuccessfully, to do last year.