FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

DEA Declares (Kr)atomic War on Americans

In early August, the US Drug Enforcement Administration announced that, contrary to expectations, it wouldn’t remove marijuana from “Schedule 1” (“no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse”).

At the end of the month, DEA made another announcement: It intends to add another herbal substance, kratom, to Schedule 1.

Why is the DEA picking on kratom? The agency offers numerous excuses — insufficient testing for the plant to have an approved medical use, its historical use as an opium substitute, its increasing use “to self-treat chronic pain and opioid withdrawal symptoms, with users reporting its effects to be comparable to prescription opioids.”

DEA says that last bit like it’s a bad thing. It isn’t. Pain relief is a GOOD thing. I’ve tried kratom myself for chronic back pain. I used it once, and got several days of (admittedly subjective) pain relief. The next time, not as much. I assume there was a difference of purity/strength involved. My pain turned out to be neuropathic and treatable with non-opioid medication. Otherwise I’d probably have continued to experiment with kratom.

Every day we’re warned of an “epidemic” of “prescription drug abuse” — mostly of opioids. Along comes a fairly benign herbal substance that helps with withdrawal from such drugs and with the chronic pain that the patient was probably taking them for in the first place, and DEA wants to ban it.

Yes, I said “fairly benign.” DEA claims to have identified 15 “kratom-related” deaths in the US over the last two years, but doesn’t claim kratom as the actual CAUSE of those deaths. While my research has admittedly been minimal, I’ve yet to find so much as a single documented report of a “kratom-related” death in which other drugs were not also present.

When you have to ask why, the answer is usually “money.” The case of DEA versus kratom is no exception to the rule.

The Drug Enforcement Administration employs more than 10,000 people (nearly 5,000 of them “special agents”) and sports a budget of more than $2 billion per year. The organization’s mission statement is fairly long and convoluted and manages to leave out the real main mission: Keeping those jobs and increasing that budget.

How long has that been the mission? For a century or so. The Drug Enforcement Administration was once known as the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, which in turn was a remnant of the Bureau of (alcohol) Prohibition, created for the express purpose of allowing former booze-busters to continue collecting government paychecks.

The only thing the DEA “protects” America from is the threat of having to compete with laid-off tax parasites for jobs in the productive sector.

With the war on marijuana winding down, DEA is on the lookout for new scary stories it can tell to taxpayers so we won’t object when politicians continue to throw money at DEA. Cue the kratom “threat.”

The real threat is DEA and other government agencies whose employees are willing to condemn Americans to pain, sickness, imprisonment, even death, rather than find real jobs.

More articles by:

Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.

Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled Again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Ishmael Reed
Hollywood’s Last Days?
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
LEJ Rachell
The Baddest Black Power Artist You Never Heard Of
Lawrence Ware
All Hell Broke Out in Oklahoma
Franklin Lamb
Tehran’s Syria: Lebanon Colonization Project is Collapsing
Donny Swanson
Janus v. AFSCME: What’s It All About?
Will Podmore
Brexit and the Windrush Britons
Brian Saady
Boehner’s Marijuana Lobbying is Symptomatic of Special-Interest Problem
Julian Vigo
Google’s Delisting and Censorship of Information
Patrick Walker
Political Dynamite: Poor People’s Campaign and the Movement for a People’s Party
Fred Gardner
Medical Board to MDs: Emphasize Dangers of Marijuana
Rob Seimetz
We Must Stand In Solidarity With Eric Reid
Missy Comley Beattie
Remembering Barbara Bush
Wim Laven
Teaching Peace in a Time of Hate
Thomas Knapp
Freedom is Winning in the Encryption Arms Race
Mir Alikhan
There Won’t be Peace in Afghanistan Until There’s Peace in Kashmir
Robert Koehler
Playing War in Syria
Tamara Pearson
US Shootings: Gun Industry Killing More People Overseas
John Feffer
Trump’s Trade War is About Trump Not China
Morris Pearl
Why the Census Shouldn’t Ask About Citizenship
Ralph Nader
Bill Curry on the Move against Public Corruption
Josh Hoxie
Five Tax Myths Debunked
Leslie Mullin
Democratic Space in Adverse Times: Milestone at Haiti’s University of the Aristide Foundation
Louis Proyect
Syria and Neo-McCarthyism
Dean Baker
Finance 202 Meets Economics 101
Abel Cohen
Forget Gun Control, Try Bullet Control
Robert Fantina
“Damascus Time:” An Iranian Movie
David Yearsley
Bach and Taxes
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail