It’s official. SB226 passed and was signed into law by Governor Bentley. This bill makes kratom and its alkaloids a Schedule I substance. This means it is considered too dangerous for even research; yet we know kratom is effective for pain management, opioid withdrawal, and opioid replacement therapy.
Pro kratom activists from Kratom United and Botanical Legal Defense fought tooth and nail in Montgomery because they see the alarming statistics of opioid abuse in Alabama. They went to the halls in our capital and distributed scientifically backed information which included a study from Johns Hopkins School of Medicine
Also present in Montgomery was Barry Matson from Prosecution Services and the Alabama District Attorney's Association (Registered Lobbyists) Bradford Health Services (also registered lobbyists) Rep. Mack Butler and Sen. Arthur Orr. They sponsored the two kratom banning bills allegedly written by Barry Matson.
Opponents of HB175 and SB226 reported unsolicited physical contact from Matson, dirty looks from him in the halls, name calling, and very caustic tones. I spoke with him myself over the telephone and I assure you, it was difficult to get a word in with him. He came at me very defensively. "I bet you already have your mind made up about this stuff," he said. Matson rattled off anecdotes and pointed to a recent death where the deceased's toxicology report pointed to a cocktail of known deadly drug combinations and the presence of kratom with no quantitative data. He claimed to have gotten thousands of phone calls from parents about kratom. He told me he had addicts in the programs he is affiliated with (I assume Bradford and Drug courts) that could not get clean because of kratom. He later reported that all of those in his affiliated programs are testing clean. He also held claim to having reports on deaths exclusive to kratom and data showing its harm.
When asked for those reports by KU, BLD, and myself, he was out of contact. His only reports that became transparent were written by himself where he claimed that kratom is 13 times more potent than morphine. That would make a single drink of a concentrated form like Viva Zen lethal. I suppose those phone calls from parents were from grieving parents who lost their children.
Matson tactics were filled with anecdotes and blatant lies and questionable ethics as his programs are directly affiliated with Bradford Health Services and both stand to gain from a kratom ban. We are sure the ethics violations will become transparent.
Butler and Orr were not receptive to our attempts to contact them.
SB226 was referred to the house health committee, and during its reading the committee pulled members selectively from the house floor to vote. It passed and was sent to the house floor for vote. Mack Butler motioned for a "temporary voice vote" and the bill was passed. We are not entirely sure what happens in a temporary voice vote but my contact with the ALGOP tells me they have never heard of such a thing.
During their celebration one of their constituents Lance Dyer revealed that they have been ordering kratom to compile lists of vendors and infiltrated advocacy, apothecary, and natural medicine groups so they may stay one step ahead of the opponents of the bills.
All and all this ordeal continues to point to protection of private interests. Bradford Health Services, the for profit probation services, private prison industry, and pharmaceutical companies stand to lose heavily from kratom. People have the right to chose natural medicine over pharmaceutical drugs and that right is being stripped away from us in favor of drugs that are known to be highly addictive and kill. As noted in my previous article, Viva Zen and like companies are not kratom. Kratom United has launched a nationwide boycott of Viva Zen and like companies. If you want more information please visit Kratom United and Botanical Legal Defense.
It should be noted that Lance Dyer is the father of Dakota Dyer--the Georgia boy who committed suicide supposedly because he was under the influence of synthetic cannabinoid JWH-18 and JWH-250. While there is no proof as to why the boy killed himself, Lance has become a drug warrior fighting research chemicals and designer drugs. While I applaud his efforts in that department, he fails to understand that these pieces of legislation are going to result in the death of many more people…every single one of which is someone's child.