By William Johnson, Guest columnist
I've experienced much of what's wrong with our healthcare system and can think of only one possible solution people can do for themselves when it comes to pain management, which leads to another matter as well.
Kratom works well for pain and you don't need a prescription to buy this centuries old remedy from Southeast Asia. Did I say buy? Yes I did, which leads to the other matter. The Drug Enforcement Administration is currently in the process of classifying the leaf from this tree into a Schedule I drug, meaning no one will be able to prescribe it, much less buy it inside the United States.
At this very moment, thousands are telling and retelling their stories about kratom, trying to save it from the axe of the DEA; how it saved their lives or helped them stop taking pharmaceutical drugs that have horrible side effects, such as Xanax, OxyContin, Klonopin, Paxil and many others.
I was unaware of this plant until three months ago, when I first began taking kratom. I was fed up with pain clinics, tired of being treated like a criminal, and tired of waiting for hours each month just to have a prescription renewed.
I was also tired of the adverse side effects from long term opiate use. Those include, but are not limited to, depression, lack of motivation, liver damage, and severe constipation. Sound familiar to anyone?
I've made some other discoveries along the way as well. My recent annual blood work to test liver function returned to normal for the first time in over a decade, after I contracted Hepatitis C at a dentist’s office.
Not only that, while it relieved most of my pain from several conditions of the spine, ones I was told would require long term opiate use for the rest of my life, it also adequately treated the symptoms of Hepatitis C, like chronic fatigue, joint pain and a host of others common to those with this virus.
My doctor was amazed when he found out I was consuming kratom, a botanical he'd never heard of. He began to research it and concluded the same thing as I. Kratom is the most likely cause that my liver functions are normal. He's never seen this with any patient with such a high viral load, not to mention the Hepatitis-C, which also managed to give me stage three Cirrhosis.
Unheard of, you say? Needs more study, right?
Every kratom researcher to date has recommended more study on its potential benefits, but now the DEA comes along saying kratom presents an imminent danger to public health -- even though it cannot identify a single death associated with kratom use alone.
One of the points I'm hoping to make is that there are viable alternatives for pain sufferers that don't include dealing with the healthcare system. And because more patients are learning about kratom, costing the industry million upon millions of dollars, DEA has stepped in to ban kratom for its pharmaceutical buddies, using outright false information in the process.
For more on that, click here to see a letter to the DEA from the Center for Regulatory Effectiveness.
And if you haven’t already, sign the petition to the White House opposing the DEA action.
While we're not going to fix the influence money has on the healthcare industry in a day, a week or even years, one thing we can do is remove as much of our business from that industry as possible. If herbal remedies work as well or better, I strongly suggest we work to keep them legal. Western medicine doesn't have all the answers and it might serve the public interests if we begin to realize this.
William Johnson lives in Virginia. He is a retired urban planner, who advocates for organic farming and gardening.
Pain News Network invites other readers to share their stories with us. Send them to: editor@PainNewsNetwork.org.
The information in this column should not be considered as professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It is for informational purposes only and represents the author’s opinions alone. It does not inherently express or reflect the views, opinions and/or positions of Pain News Network.