15 Dec Why States Should Enact the Kratom Consumer Protection Act (KCPA)
Kratom is a natural plant that has been used safely for centuries in Southeast Asia. However, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been attempting to ban kratom, claiming it can cause deaths that are the result of polydrug use or ingesting adulterated kratom products consumers presumed to be safe. The American Kratom Association (AKA) analyzed kratom products offered for sale in the United States and found that the majority of adulterated products enter the supply chain because an unscrupulous vendor deliberately adulterates their products with dangerous drugs or synthesizes the natural alkaloid content of the plant to deliver a euphoric high that is not present in the natural plant. The transparent objective is to increase their sales revenue. Based on the AKA’s review of product supply chains, the four states where the Kratom Consumer Protection Act provisions have been enacted, Utah, Georgia, Arizona, and Nevada, the number of adulterated kratom products spiked with dangerous drugs like heroin, fentanyl, and morphine has significantly decreased.
The Kratom Consumer Protection Act (KCPA) is an important legislation that aims to protect consumers from the risks of adulterated kratom products. It has been enacted in four states and has been successful in reducing the number of adulterated kratom products sold to consumers. The KCPA requires that all kratom products sold in a state must be tested for purity and labeled accurately, ensuring that consumers are aware of the contents of the products they are purchasing.
Kratom is not addictive like classic opioids, and studies funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) demonstrate that kratom does not have any significant addiction liability. A 2020 Johns Hopkins study of adult kratom users revealed that 87% of those using kratom for opioid dependence reported that kratom provided relief from withdrawal symptoms, and 35% were free from opioids for over one year.
The FDA has a long-standing bias against natural products and dietary supplements, and kratom is no exception to the FDA’s efforts to increase their regulatory control over the choices Americans make in their health and well-being. The claims the FDA makes about kratom-associated adverse events and deaths are exclusively related to dangerously adulterated kratom products or polydrug use. Pure kratom that is not contaminated or adulterated and responsibly used is safe for consumer use.
The conflict with the FDA is explainable and transparent. When kratom is available in its natural form to millions of consumers, no pharmaceutical company is going to be interested in submitting a new drug application (NDA). The NDA process typically requires a $3 – $5 billion investment and 10 years of review by the FDA, and no pharmaceutical company would have an interest in that investment if kratom is legally available to consumers.
In the 1990s, the FDA launched a similar attack on dietary supplements and vitamins with claims that these products were all unapproved drugs and there were significant numbers of adverse events and deaths resulting from the sale of these products. The FDA solution was to ban all dietary supplements and force consumers to use only FDA-approved drugs to maintain their health and well-being. At that time, the U.S. Congress intervened and stopped the broad regulatory overreach for literally hundreds of dietary supplement and vitamin products by passing the Dietary Supplement Health & Education Act (DSHEA) that today provides regulations for the safe use of dietary supplements and vitamins used by more than 85% of American consumers and accounting for $53 billion in sales annually.
Kratom was specifically targeted by the FDA in 2009 when the FDA circulated reports out of Sweden that nine deaths in a short period of time were attributed to the use of kratom. However, it was later discovered that these deaths were not solely caused by kratom but were instead the result of a mixture of substances that included other prescription drugs and alcohol. Despite this, the FDA has continued to classify kratom as a dangerous drug with no accepted medical use, and its legality remains a topic of debate. While some states have banned kratom, others have allowed it to be sold and used, but with regulations and restrictions in place. Ultimately, the safety and legality of kratom use will likely continue to be a contentious issue for some time to come.
The KCPA aims to ensure that consumers have access to pure, uncontaminated kratom products, and that vendors cannot market or sell adulterated products. By doing so, the KCPA can protect consumers from the harmful effects of adulterated kratom products while still allowing them to access the beneficial effects of pure kratom.
Another important benefit of the KCPA is that it can help to prevent the FDA from using the adulteration of kratom products as a pretext for a broader crackdown on kratom. If states enact the KCPA and successfully reduce the prevalence of adulterated kratom products, the FDA will no longer be able to use these products as evidence of the dangers of kratom as a whole.
Moreover, the KCPA can help to establish a framework for the safe and responsible use of kratom. As with any substance, kratom can be harmful if used improperly or in excessive quantities. By enacting the KCPA, states can provide guidance to consumers on the appropriate dosages and usage of kratom, which can help to reduce the risk of harm.
Finally, the KCPA can help to protect the rights of consumers to make their own choices about their health and well-being. The FDA’s efforts to ban or severely restrict kratom are based on the assumption that consumers cannot be trusted to make informed decisions about their own health. By enacting the KCPA, states can demonstrate that it is possible to regulate the sale of kratom in a way that protects consumers without infringing on their rights.
The KCPA is an important policy that can help to protect the safety and rights of consumers who use kratom. By enacting the KCPA, states can ensure that consumers have access to pure, uncontaminated kratom products, while also providing guidance on the safe and responsible use of kratom. Moreover, by reducing the prevalence of adulterated kratom products, states can help to prevent the FDA from using these products as a pretext for a broader crackdown on kratom. Overall, the KCPA represents an important step forward in the fight to protect the rights and health of kratom consumers.