Southport, NC, 20, May 2016: Kratom, a medicinal herb used for centuries in Indonesia, may soon be outlawed by a bill in the North Carolina Legislature. If passed bill NC S830, introduced by State Senator Tom McInnis, would make North Carolina only the fifth state in the country to make kratom illegal.
While many users of kratom say that it has helped them stop using illicit drugs, some lawmakers say the the herb itself is addictive and should be outlawed.
“It's a freedom of choice issue,” says Joshua Fulton, owner of Coastline Kratom, a Southport, NC-based leader in the kratom industry. “Kratom has been used medicinally for centuries and we have at least one person a week email us letting us know that kratom has permanently changed their lives. Yet apparently some in the Legislature want more North Carolinians to be hooked on prescription pills and pain killers, which cause more deaths in a year than kratom ever has.”
Chris McCurdy, a Professor of medical chemistry and toxicology at the University of Mississippi, says, “Mitragynine [an alkaloid in kratom] completely blocked all withdrawal symptoms and could provide a remarkable step-down-like treatment for people addicted to hardcore narcotics such as morphine, oxycodone or heroin.”
Although kratom can become addictive, just like caffeine, McCurdy documents the first case of kratom addiction that came to Mass General hospital in 2008: “After his stay at Mass General, he went off kratom cold turkey. The fascinating thing is that his only withdrawal symptom was a runny noise.” Withdrawal symptoms of caffeine, on the other hand, include headache, fatigue, depression, nausea, muscle pain and more.
Bill NC S830 is rapidly progressing through the Legislature. Fulton warns, “If people believe that the Legislature should be doing their best to end prescription drug abuse, instead of encouraging it by outlawing herbs like kratom that help people ween themselves from hardcore legal and illegal drugs, they need to act now and contact their Legislators.”