LNC Chair's comments on DEA scheduling of kratom like heroin

For Immediate Release Wednesday, September 7, 2016

While the American people are demanding drug peace and self-ownership, the DEA is headed in the wrong direction with kratom.

By Nicholas Sarwark
Libertarian National Committee Chair

The DEA is losing the war on drugs with state after state softening stances on marijuana. 8 states will be voting on legalizing marijuana for recreational AND medicinal purposes in November. Americans are overwhelmingly seeing that prison and government violence are terrible ways to solve the problems of addiction and drug abuse, and they are demanding a different approach. They are demanding more liberty. They are demanding drug peace.

Instead, the DEA is seeking out new plants and herbs to wage war on, presumably to refill our prisons and keep the revenue from asset forfeiture going to the state.

Kratom is a simple herb. The medicinal form is derived from leaves of a plant, ground into powder or made into a tea. It has very low toxicity and no death has ever occurred because of kratom alone. In fact, many use it to negate the vicious withdrawal effects from heroin addiction. Many use it for anxiety and depression and claim it works far better for them than other pharmaceuticals and with no side effects. Many claim it saves lives. Maybe it does, and maybe it doesn’t. That should be a decision grown adults make for themselves, and if they say it helps them, so be it.

At this point, it is sold as an unregulated herbal remedy and that is how it should stay. But, presumably because it DOES actually do something, the DEA is planning to schedule it the same as heroin and ban its use at the end of this month, even though no harm can be proven. According to the DEA, the American people are required to prove some medical benefit through the ridiculously arcane process of FDA approval.

So we are supposed to spend 10 or more years and millions of research dollars to get permission to ingest an herb that is currently not hurting anybody?The Libertarian Party and a majority of the American people reject this philosophy of governance and demand that the DEA stand down on kratom and marijuana.

It is especially critical to keep alternatives like these open to our nation’s veterans, who are committing suicide at an appalling rate of 22 per day, many of them desperate for mental health services or pain management from overburdened and poorly managed VA health services. We have already failed our veterans in so many ways.

If kratom helps even one of them deal with the trauma of endless, pointless war, it is downright inhumane to put any kind of stumbling block between them and their recovery.

If the DEA moves forward with this scheduling and the veteran suicide rate goes up, blood will be on their hands. The American people are sick and tired of unelected bureaucrats making life more miserable for people already suffering.

Stop it.

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