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Statement on the American Medical Association House of Delegates Resolution on Kratom

The American Kratom Association (“AKA”) welcomes the action taken by the American Medical Association (”AMA”) House of Delegates in their 2023 meeting that rejected the extreme recommendations of the Mississippi Medical Association that called for a complete ban on all over-the-counter sales of kratom products in the United States.

Resolution 515 approved by the AMA House of Delegates affirmed four important principles that the AKA has vigorously advocated for since the FDA first attempted to rush through a ban on kratom using the Controlled Substances Act:

  • Kratom policy should be dictated by science that is driven by research and clinical trials that are evaluated by all relevant regulatory agencies for whether over-the-counter sales should be allowed, or if kratom should be scheduled under the Controlled Substances Act. The AKA supports the AMA position that kratom policy has to be based on reliable scientific evidence, not the biased opinions of the FDA who have opposed dietary and botanical supplement market entry for decades.
  • Individuals using kratom for pain management should have access to appropriate medical care for pain and withdrawal symptoms. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (“NIDA”) has invested more than $30 million in kratom research, and NIDA’s Director has affirmed the kratom can be a valuable harm reduction tool for those struggling with addictions to dangerous opioids and other illicit drugs.
  • Individuals using kratom for personal use should not face criminal charges. The FDA has actively promoted bans on kratom that criminalize use of kratom, and six states were duped into adopting bans on the promise the FDA would secure a federal ban – which they have not because the science does not justify it. Five of those six states are actively deliberating on rescinding those unjustified bans that criminalize their citizens who responsibly use kratom as a botanical supplement.
  • Kratom should be regulated by the FDA through clinical trials before it can be marketed or prescribed for a treatment for any condition. The AKA has aggressively advocated for the FDA to shut down kratom vendors who illegally market kratom products with therapeutic claims that have not been approved under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. The AKA has submitted more than 75 documented marketing complaints over the past 36 months and not a single prosecution by the FDA. Despite that, the FDA continues to complain that kratom is being used to “self-medicate” to wean off of drug addictions.

The FDA, and the extremist anti-kratom advocates who proposed a full ban on all over the counter sales of kratom products, are out of step with current research and science on the safety and addiction profile of kratom. The FDA’s attempts to have kratom scheduled under the CSA have been rejected by the Drug Enforcement Administration in 2016; the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) Assistant Secretary of Health in 2018; and by the Expert Committee on Drug Dependence in 2021 – all because of insufficient scientific evidence to support the FDA’s claims about the safety and addiction profile of kratom.

HHS Assistant Secretary of Health, Dr. Brett Giroir, stated that the FDA presented “embarrassingly poor evidence and data, and a failure to consider the overall public health” in his rejection of the FDA recommendation to classify kratom as a Schedule I substance in 2018, and the scientific research on kratom has only gotten stronger since then.

The American Kratom Association strongly endorses the responsible science-based position the AMA House of Delegates has taken on kratom.
For additional information:

Mac Haddow
Senior Fellow on Public Policy American Kratom Association
Phone: 571-294-5978

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