Federal Government Destroys Kratom

Feds Incinerate 28 Tons of Kratom

 Pat Anson, PNN

Over 28 tons of the herbal supplement kratom were recently destroyed by the federal government, the final chapter in a legal battle over one of the largest seizures of kratom in U.S. history. The federal government destroys kratom.

The U.S. Marshals Office paid a hazardous waste company nearly $30,000 to transport the kratom from South Carolina to Florida, where it was incinerated at an energy-from-waste facility. The kratom had an estimated value of $1 million.

Kratom is a dietary supplement that millions of Americans use to self-treat their chronic pain, anxiety, depression and addiction.  It comes from the leaves of a tree that grows in southeast Asia, where kratom has been used for centuries as a natural stimulant and pain reliever.

Federal Government Destroys Kratom

The incinerated kratom was seized in 2018 after FDA inspectors found large quantities of kratom powder and capsules at a warehouse in Myrtle Beach, SC operated by Earth Kratom, a kratom wholesaler and vendor.

At the time, the federal government was engaged in a public relations campaign against kratom, led by then-FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb. Federal officials claimed kratom was a risky and addictive substance that should not be used to treat any medical condition.

Federal Government Destroys Kratom

“Serious concerns exist regarding the effect of kratom on multiple organ systems. Consumption of kratom can lead to a number of health impacts, including respiratory depression, vomiting, nervousness, weight loss, and constipation. Kratom consumption has been linked to neurologic, analgesic and sedative effects, addiction, and hepatic toxicity,” U.S. Attorneys said in a civil forfeiture complaint that led to the kratom being seized.

Kratom can be sold legally in South Carolina and most U.S. states, but vendors can run into trouble if they claim it can be used to treat medical conditions.

“There’s nothing wrong with our facilities or our product,” explained Brian Stall, supervising manager for Earth Kratom. “We were selling a product for human consumption and they didn’t like that.”

Stall told PNN that Earth Kratom’s lawyers were able to persuade a judge to order the kratom returned, but it was seized a second time by U.S. Marshals. The kratom was wrapped in plastic and remained at Earth Kratom’s warehouse, but was off-limits to the company.

Federal Government Destroys Kratom

“They took all of our product and half of our building at that point,” said Stall. “It was a tough time for us. We’d worked really hard and really believed in the product. It really sucked.”

Earth Kratom’s entire inventory may have gone up in smoke, but it survived the ordeal and remains in business. It sells one of the most popular kratom brands, Trainwreck Kratom, a blend that combines several different kratom strains. PNN’s Crystal Lindell raved about Trainwreck as a pain reliever in a 2018 column.

Federal Government Destroys Kratom

Scott Gottlieb resigned as FDA commissioner in March 2019 and weeks later joined the board of directors at Pfizer. Although the FDA’s campaign against kratom seems to have quieted since Gottlieb’s departure, an import alert remains in effect that allows FDA inspectors to seize kratom products even “without physical examination.”

A recent study funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse concluded that kratom is an effective treatment for pain, helps users reduce their use of opioids, and has a low risk of adverse effects.

 

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