Kratom Could Become the Newest Illegal Drug in Arizona

Categories: I'm Only a Bill
kratom-leaves.jpg
By ThorPorre via Wikimedia Commons
Kratom leaves.


Arizona's list of illegal drugs soon could include kratom, an herbal product that's been used as medicine in certain Asian countries for centuries.

Kratom's been for sale legally in certain stores around Phoenix for several years now, but the annual proposed update of Arizona's banned drugs includes the alkaloids in kratom.

UPDATE February 7: Kratom has been removed from the proposed list of banned drugs. Click here to read the latest story.

Former New Times writer Niki D'Andrea took a look at kratom in 2011, finding that some people used kratom as an herbal medicine, while some used it for recreation, and either way, the DEA was against it.

See also:
-Kratom: Some Say the Latest "Legal Drug" Is a Harmless Herbal Tonic

Kratom's reported to have opioid-like effects, but not powerful to the extent of say, morphine -- some say there's not really a "high" associated with it. Those who tout its medicinal effects say it's effective in combating opioid addiction, but what little research has been done on the substance's effects seems to show otherwise. Still, many users swear by it as a great herbal remedy.

Either way, if history tells us anything, this substance is on the fast track to being banned under the "narcotic drugs" category.

In recent years, Arizona legislators have been updating the list of banned drugs to keep up with new synthetic drugs or "research chemicals" that are being sold in head shops and elsewhere.

Two main alkaloids found in kratom are on that list.

These bills banning new drugs have been met with no resistance or real hesitation by legislators in recent years, especially amid the horror stories emerging from around the state of how people have been behaving after ingesting the substances known as "bath salts" or "spice."

In the 2012 and 2013 versions of the bill, all the votes have been unanimous in every committee and every floor vote in the House and Senate. Governor Jan Brewer signed both bills, which had emergency clauses, meaning they became effective immediately.

This year's bill, House Bill 2453, is scheduled to be heard in the House Judiciary Committee tomorrow morning.

We've sent a message to the bill's sponsor, Republican Representative Eddie Farnsworth, asking him to explain the reasoning behind adding kratom to the list. We'll update this post when we get a response.

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Follow Matthew Hendley on Twitter at @MatthewHendley.



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69 comments
TheHarlequin13
TheHarlequin13

Kratom is fantastic, and has helped me overcome addictions to painkillers and anxiety meds that were prescribed by doctors, that only led to a horrible addiction and a downward slide into illegal drug use.  Kratom is natural, helps with withdrawal, energy, anxiety, everything- and it should be kept legal.  It is sad that Big Pharma and the media are misinforming the public and labeling Kratom as a "drug".  Keep Kratom legal!

info3803
info3803

You lost me at the name of the story "may be new illegal drug" yada yada.


Kratom is not a drug, never has been, never will be.  It is a medicinal herb. Very very big difference. 


Drugs are substances such as oxycontin, hydrocodone, etc that kill app 17 million Americans annually.


Kratom is not an opiate, though it is a substance that can attach to our opiate receptors.  Guess what.  So does dark chocolate, cheese, fatty foods and a lot else.  Again,  time to do some research eh? 


Kratom kills zero in the history of our civilized world (since journalism has reported on it..at least 1000 years.  And..nobody has ever overdosed.  


Given that, what is dangerous about kratom? 

We know you've not done your research to even write the story; given the name; but have you done your research that latest U.S. university research shows it has the potential to save more lives than any other herb or possible more than any drug weaning addicts from drugs?  I didn't think so.  Google "Ole Miss" & "Kratom".  There, I did free consultation/research work for you and won't even charge you. 


Please grow up, or take a journalism class or two, come back and write another so we can show some respect.  Tis impossible now. Sorry. 

adobedoug
adobedoug

@valleynative

You are prolific and persistent, I will give you that.

Your "arguments" (I use the term loosely) are logically and morally bankrupt. You'll notice that you are alone in supporting the war on some drugs on this forum. Old folks like you will die soon enough, then the rest of us will do what we can to undo all the harms this horrific public policy has wrought on our freedom and society.

KratomOnline.org
KratomOnline.org

"But what little research has been done on the substance's effects seems to show otherwise." 


What research are you referring to? Medical journals as early as 1897 have documented the benefits of using Kratom to treat drug addiction and ease withdrawal symptoms. http://kratomonline.org/kratom-drug-addiction/

BotanicalDefense
BotanicalDefense

I just got word from lobbyist and rep Farnsworth has removed it from the bill. Arizona is safe for now. You can all watch the hearing tomorrow morning by going to www.azleg.gov, going to live proceeding, and going to House Hearing Room 4. The hearing begins at 9:00 and has 8 bills on the agenda. I do not know the order of the bills, they do not have to go in order.

BotanicalDefense
BotanicalDefense

The Botanical legal defense has retained a lobbyist that knows Rep. Farnsworth. The lobbyist spoke with Farnsworth today about removing the alkaloids found in Mitragyna speciosa from the house bill. Email david@inibotanicals.com for more information. We will be needing a citizen from Arizona to help push this process forward. We will then focus on Oklahoma, and Louisiana.

dbranch
dbranch

The real shame is by scheduling the herb they are prohibiting any research on the product going forward. Research such as being conducted by Dr. McCurdy at School of Pharmacy at Ole Miss. Findings which (which have been known outside the US for centuries) have shown Kratom as an excellent opiate suppressor which could be a godsend for helping us battle all kinds of drug addictions from prescription to street drugs. Instead of banning this wonderful substance we should be funding research.  But let's face it, we can't have a natural plant impacting sales of patented pharmaceutical drugs. Prescription drug abuse and then moving those addicted soles to Methadone for life is big business. Once again the GOP has shown their true colors and that is protecting big business profits while stomping on our personal freedoms and worse yet  putting us in harms way (more than 30,000 deaths a year due to prescription pain killers.). Kratom deaths - Zero.

http://news.olemiss.edu/new-hope-for-addicts/


dbranch
dbranch

Amazing the ignorance of legislatures that are so easily swayed by media reports without doing any real research into Kratom. They hear a noise in the grass and assume it is a snake. The real shame is by scheduling the herb they are prohibiting any research on the product going forward. Research such as Dr. McCurdy at School of Pharmacy at Ole Miss. Findings which (which have been known outside the US for centuries) have shown Kratom as an excellent opiate suppressor which could be a godsend for helping us battle all kinds of drug addictions from prescription to street drugs. Instead of banning this wonderful substance we should be funding research.  But hey we can't have a natural plant that could impact sales of patented pharmaceutical products. Once again the GOP has shown their true colors and that is protecting big business profits while stomping on our personal freedoms and actually putting us in harms way (more than 30,000 deaths a year due to prescription pain killers.).

http://news.olemiss.edu/new-hope-for-addicts/


kratomtruth.tk
kratomtruth.tk

Kratom is about as addictive as coffee and certainly less so than alcohol or nicotine. Just because it binds to opioid receptors doesn't make it an opiate. There are  tens of thousands of deaths caused by prescription medications every year, and how many from kratom? I can count on two hands the number of deaths linked to kratom, and every one of these involved mixing kratom with pharmaceuticals. It is no surprise that the DEA has kratom on their short list. They make a living off of drug addiction. Introduce an all natural herb that can keep meth heads and junkies from craving their fix, and the DEA is out of business. Same reason that kratom was initially banned in Thailand and probably most of the other countries on that list. Maybe one day this country will wake up and realize that the only solution to our drug problem is education and regulation. How thick must you be to realize that prohibition makes it 1000% worse.

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter


Desert Racist Wasteland is contemplating "legalizing" the marijuana plant, while at the same time making yet another plant a Schedule 1 FELONY.


Idiots.

shadeaux14
shadeaux14

Will we ever evolve to the point that we realize that you cannot solve a physical and mental health problem

WITH THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE SYSTEM.



valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

You seem to be trying to make it sound silly to control these opioids, even though the article you cited yourself says:


Though it is currently uncontrolled in the states, kratom has been banned in Bhutan, Australia, Finland, Denmark, Poland, Lithuania, Malaysia, Myanmar (Burma), and Thailand, where it is reportedly the third most popular drug, behind meth and marijuana.

and

In addition to the risk of buying contaminated kratom products, there's also the matter of potential addiction. A 2004 study on the tolerance and withdrawal effects of kratom in mice conducted jointly by the Josai International University in Japan and Chulalongkorn University in Thailand concluded that tolerance to 7-hydroxymitragynine developed "as occurs to morphine," and there was evidence of cross-tolerance to morphine, as well. Withdrawal symptoms also were observed.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@adobedoug  

Let's be clear.  I think pot should be legalized, since the cost-benefits to society are clear.  If refined sugar was just coming out on the market, I'd want to take a long look at it before saying it shouldn't be controlled.  Caffeine doesn't really fall into the same category, since it has proven benefits in moderation and is not a serious addiction problem.

On the other hand, the history of "safer, less addictive" opiates over the past hundred years has been devastating, with each "improvement" winding up having worse impact on society than what it was intended to replace.

I also don't like the magical thinking that says that natural products are safer or somehow better for us than those that have been studied.  It's demonstrably nonsensical.

info3803
info3803

@KratomOnline.org   Good point. I read the DEA agent who knows zero throw in that line to "scare us".  He does't understand we have the Internet and we get research the minute a clinical trial is over.  Not only does it "not show otherwise" according to Jan 2013's Ole Miss Pharmacy Schools pilot resarch study, nothing, I said nothing on the planet, in history, even comes close to being its peer at helping people OFF of opiate drugs and alcohol.  Kratom could theoretically close the doors of rehabs. Is that the big fear?  I thought so.  Kratom, thus far has proven to be nothing short of a "miracle herb" and Ole Miss is far from the first study.  Want to know more?  Google it.  All the studies are there.  But here's  a thought.  The author should google it and read the studies BEFORE he writes another story. Otherwise he looks like he writes for Weekly Reader, frankly. 

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@KratomOnline.org  

The addiciton research cited in the article mentioned in the article above.

Studies as early an 1897 also documented the benefits of wrapping cancerous lesions with rags soaked in kerosene, so that's not really useful information.


BotanicalDefense
BotanicalDefense

We have used the McCurdys study at Ole Miss to help convince the lobbyist .

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@dbranch  ... Prohibitionist Repuglykkkans don't care how many people suffer and die from lack of medicinal research on NATURAL herbs, they want to force everyone to enrich their pals at BigPharm by denying them legal access to alternatives.





valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@kratomtruth  

Cite your sources about addictiveness, please.

Do you have statistics on number of deaths per kratom use?  The raw number is completely meaningless statistically.

I agree the education is the best way to protect most people, but there are also a lot of stupid people who can't seem to be educated.

Thanks

 

adobedoug
adobedoug

Nothing in your quotes justifies putting a human in a cage, or making future economic progress impossible due to a felony conviction.

Prohibition has never been control. To regulate sales of any commodity, it must be legal. Prohibiting the sale of a thing never makes it go away, it just cedes the market to criminals. Contaminated kratom is FAR more likely if prohibited than in a legal marketplace.

KratomOnline.org
KratomOnline.org

@valleynative Hah are you really attempting an ad hominem argument against the year 1897? Should we distrust all scientific research from this year? 

Come back when you have some real arguments.

Thane.Eichenauer
Thane.Eichenauer

Some people being incurably stupid (in your opinion) is no valid justification to pass a law forbidding the use of plant or plant derivative X, Y or Z.  

kratomtruth.tk
kratomtruth.tk

@valleynative @kratomtruthI don't need a journal article to tell me about kratom. I have used it on and off for six years. I can tell you that even with daily use, it was easier to quit than coffee, alcohol, prescription opiates, and cannabis. Kratom effectively replaces all of these substances and won't make you crash your car or lose your job. 


I guess there's no way to gauge deaths per user given that we don't have use statistics. I have never come across a single mention of a kratom death in countries where it is native; however, and I have done a bit of research. So .. zero is a pretty good number.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@adobedoug  


Personal responsibility.  Drug users who get caught have put themselves in the cage.


Banning it will stop most people from using it, which seems to be a good thing, in the case of an addictive drug.  Do we really want more addictive drugs pushed onto our kids by big corporations?

adobedoug
adobedoug

@valleynative @adobedoug  

"Anything that shows a strong likelihood of leading to addiction and from there to crime."

It's "from there to crime" that's a problem. You seem to believe that addiction necessarily leads to crime. It doesn't work that way. If not for the prohibition of opiates they would be far less expensive and users wouldn't need to turn to crime to support their habit. Not even your christian god was able to make prohibition work.

"I don't know that these particular opioids fall into that category, but I'd err on that side."

You are willing to jail people for the possession of a plant that you know nothing about.

"If that's how you see the enforcement of society's enacted laws, then we may not have enough in common to have a very meaningful conversation."

Your brand of magical thinking allows you to believe that because it's "the law of the land" that it's just. What is it in my characterization that you find false?

I knew going in that we didn't share enough common ground for a meaningful conversation. I had you at a disadvantage there. I've read many of your posts on this site. I hope for your sake that you are paid for your trolling, otherwise you are just a pathetic narcissist who believes they have something relevant to add to any and all conversations.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@adobedoug @valleynative 

If that's how you see the enforcement of society's enacted laws, then we may not have enough in common to have a very meaningful conversation.


But no, not just opiates.  Anything that shows a strong likelihood of leading to addiction and from there to crime.

Again, I don't know that these particular opioids fall into that category, but I'd err on that side.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@valleynative <== Luddite Teabagger 


E = mc2


How meaningless is that 100+ year old "science", eh fucktard?



valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@KratomOnline.org @valleynative 

That's just ignorant.  I clearly don't care about the year.  The simple and obvious fact is that "scientific" studies from that long ago are not meaningful today.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@squash @valleynative  


From the Teatard Lexicon --


"big government" = regulations he disagrees with.


"necessary government" = regulations he agrees with.


hth.

squash
squash

@valleynative So only certain regulations count as "big government?" I'm confused. Care to fill me in?

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@squash @valleynativeThe one who said what?  I am against "big government".  That doesn't mean I'm against all government regulations.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@dlee23  

I don't know that it has.  Yet.  Drug addiction impacts the lives of innocent victims, though.


valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@Thane.Eichenauer  

Yes, that line of reasoning does, to the extent that the things being regulated aren't protected by the Constitution and that the voters aren't willing to object.  That's how things work in the real world.


dlee23
dlee23

How has kratom negatively affected your life?

Thane.Eichenauer
Thane.Eichenauer

Using that line of reasoning would give Big Brother and Big Sister the green light to regulate or forbid hamburgers, large sodas and 7 round pistol magazines.  If person X, Y or Z defrauds you, steals from you or attacks you why not just enforce the current laws that forbid force, fraud or coercion instead of making the issue an object, substance or plant A, B or C?

http://www.levity.com/corduroy/orwell.htm

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@Thane.Eichenauer  

If their abuse of plant derivative X impacts my life negatively in any significant way, guess what?  Society is completely justified in forbidding its use.  Don't like it?  Move out of society.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@squash @valleynative@kratomtruth.tk 

They're named in the article.  Didn't you read it?


-edit - no, they're actually named in the article cited by this article, and in my post, above.


squash
squash

@valleynative @kratomtruth "Maybe it's not a problem, but so far, the only scientific evidence cited says that it is."

Do you care to care to cite your sources showing that kratom is a problem? You asked kratomtruth to cite his, it's only fair that you cite yours.

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@kratomtruth @valleynative 

I expect you to believe your own experience.  Personally, I have too much research experience to trust a single data point.


valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay @valleynative 

Moron, I've tried to explain this to you.  I'm not dictating.  Society is dictating, through our elected officials.  Where the hell did you go to school?

kratomtruth.tk
kratomtruth.tk

@valleynative @kratomtruthI for one will believe my own personal experience over lab rat testing any day. As for what constitutes a "problem": apparently the thai government, who has plenty of experience with kratom (unlike the US government), doesn't think it is a problem given that they are decriminalizing the plant as of 2013. They obviously understand there are bigger fish to fry and that criminalizing kratom is a waste of government resources.

dlee23
dlee23

How about some evidence that something is harmful before making it illegal?

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@valleynative ... tell us again why a lowlife fascist scumbag like you thinks he can dictate what other people do or don't put into their own bodies.


valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@kratomtruth

That's what we call "anecdotal evidence" and it's of little value in setting societal policy.   Maybe it's not a problem, but so far, the only scientific evidence cited says that it is.



info3803
info3803

@valleynative @adobedoug  Actually might want to do your research on sugar.  Especially now, with the type corn syrup that is put in it, it is one of the most addictive substances on the planet; and, one of the biggest causes of misbehavior in schools; which as we know, leads to crime.  Without even reading all the studied, I can bet sugar is by far one of the top 5 most addictive and harmful substances on the planet.  Still want to put kratom up against it for all that "badness it might do"? 


valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@adobedoug @valleynative 

Don't try to put words in my mouth.  You're far from qualified.

The free market is good enough for sugar but not for kratom because:

Sugar is already established - the horse is out of the stable.

Sugar is not addictive to the point that people turn to crime to get a fix.  We don't absolutely know that this is true of the opiods in kratom, but that's the way to bet.

If it remains legal, it will be much more widespread than if it is banned before it catches on.  Is that really fantastic to you?

 

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@adobedoug @valleynative 

People should be free to harm themselves, to the extent that they don't harm others.  Addiction is harmful to honest citizens.

adobedoug
adobedoug

@valleynative @adobedoug  So the "free market" is good enough for sugar but not for kratom? Care to explain? Oh! I know it's because YOU consume sugar but not kratom. You conveniently left out caffeine, I'll assume you like that one too.


<q>I don't really expect to see criminal gangs selling kratom on the street, particularly if it's banned before it has a chance to become popular.</q>

What a fantasy world you live in VN. This is your opinion. Really rich for someone who on this same thread calls someone else's person experience anecdotal. Surely you recognize the black-market for illegal substances already exists. The idiots in the legislature apparently see that there is a market, why else ban it? You and they are willing to enrich the criminals by adding another substance to their domain. Regulated markets (like those for tobacco) are required not to sell to the "dumb kids," drug dealers don't care how young or dumb their customers are, as long as they have cash (or trade.)

adobedoug
adobedoug

@valleynative @adobedoug  That's funny all this time I thought "personal responsibility" meant that if a person uses their freedom to posses a plant that person would be responsible for any harmful effects of said plant. 

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@1959cutter @valleynative 

What kind of a "douchebag" imagines that a person is like somebody else they know based on one piece of information?   Your stereotypes reveal your intellect.


1959cutter
1959cutter

@valleynative you sound like my douchebag dad.

putting down govt. help...until his cancer,heart attack ,kidney and other major surgeries,all the while bitching about govt. handouts.

just like the other teabaggers .....first in line with their hands out.

he quit livin off the government two years ago august!

good thing I was around to pay for it.

kratomtruth.tk
kratomtruth.tk

@valleynative @adobedougBut you're wrong, there is a growing market for kratom as people realize how devastating addiction to prescription pain medications can be. It would only take a year or two for a black market trade to gain momentum. 

You keep saying that kratom negatively impacts society, but for some reason fail to address alcohol and nicotine. Both of which cost the health care system billions every year. I would love to see statistics on cost per user for these substances but we obviously don't have data for kratom. So because you don't know the facts, it's is assumed to be bad?

valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@adobedoug  

I would end subsidies for sugar and corn syrup production and allow the free market to reduce the amount of soda consumed to a more reasonable level.

I don't really expect to see criminal gangs selling kratom on the street, particularly if it's banned before it has a chance to become popular.  Lack of regulation implies "safe" to too many dumb kids.

 

adobedoug
adobedoug

Do you also support the criminalization of the 64 oz soda pop? Sugar and caffeine are also addictive. If I have to make the choice between big corporations marketing to "our kids" I chose regulated legal markets where disputes are managed in boardrooms. You are advocating enriching criminal gangs (and ever more militant police) whose disputes are taken care of on "our streets" with automatic weapons.

Easy choice

DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@valleynative ... what makes you think I'd want to change the mind of an ignorant freedom-hating nanny-statist fascist prohibitionist scum like you?



DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@valleynative  <== says the fascist fucktard who wants to CRIMINALIZE what other people choose to put in their own bodies.



valleynative
valleynative topcommenter

@DonkeyHotay  

Where are these "free societies" and why aren't you in one?


If I have to pay for your health care, and suffer the consequences of you being willing to do anything to satisfy your addiction, then I get some say in what you put into your body.


That's part of what it means to live in a society.


DonkeyHotay
DonkeyHotay topcommenter

@valleynative ... good thing that in free societies we don't need ignorant nanny statists like you telling others what they can and can't put into their own bodies.



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