To Whom It May Concern:
It is my understanding that you are interested in hearing about people’s experience with kratom. I am a 61-yr-old wife, grandmother and home owner. I am not an addict. I have never had addiction issues, nor am I seeking a cheap ‘legal’ high. Until recently, I’ve been a compliant chronic pain patient who has never once abused my prescription pain medications. I’ve followed all the rules: I’ve signed pain management contracts, I keep my meds locked in a safe that’s bolted to a cupboard, I’ve never lost a single pill or asked for an increase in dose, and I’ve never failed a drug test.
Prior to 2005, I was a busy computer professional and technical editor (50+ hours a week were the norm). For a decade I worked at a government contractor that maintained operating and maintenance manias for the nuclear Navy. Eventually those long hours at a keyboard caught up with me. Right after Christmas in 2004, I was diagnosed with bilateral Neurogenic Thoracic Outlet Syndrome (NTOS). NTOS is a painful and disabling repetitive strain injury that causes chronic muscle spasms in the neck and shoulders. The spasms pinch nerves and arterial flow in the brachial plexus area under the collarbone. The higher my hands go above lap level, the worse the pain gets until my hands go numb. I was judged not to be a good candidate for surgical intervention. In order to try and plateau the progression of my condition, my doctor advised early retirement and I was forced onto SSD. I was devastated.
Pain management helped to some degree, but the restrictions I faced due to my disability were daunting and my morale declined while the pain medications I was prescribed sapped what little life I had left in me. Somehow, I adapted and just as I grew more comfortable with my new normal, efforts to control the opioid crisis escalated and for various reasons completely beyond my control, it started becoming harder to get my medications filled in a timely manner. Although I’m not psychologically addicted, my body was physically dependent on there being a certain level of medication in my system at all times. Delays in getting a prescription filled caused debilitating withdrawal symptoms to set in within hours of a missed dose. And those delays were becoming the norm, not the exception. Although I have never once misused my meds, in fact I voluntarily reduced or discontinue some long before the ‘opioid crisis’ became a household word. But mounting pressure on doctors, pharmacies and insurance companies made it feel like I was being punished for the crime of being in chronic pain. Compliant chronic pain patients are being harmed and it seems that far too few people are taking this fact into account.
It was during one of these delays of getting my prescriptions filled that I was introduced to kratom. Kratom significantly reduced the withdrawal symptoms I experienced. In fact, it worked so well that I eventually decided to discontinue the prescription extended release morphine I’d come to rely on for more than a decade. Again, let me emphasize, the prescription medication worked fine for me. It was the trouble I experienced in getting it filled in a timely manner that caused me to look elsewhere. I’ve also been able to reduce the amount of muscle relaxers and antispasmodic medications I need too. Kratom allows me to function on a whole new level and without the troublesome side effects or tolerance issues of opioids. It has the added benefit of boosting my energy and mood, which is really important for those of us facing chronic illness. As part of my wellness routine, which includes careful attention to a high-quality anti inflammatory diet and vitamin and herbal supplements, kratom helps support an overall sense of calm and well being like no prescription pain medication has ever done for me.
When consumed responsibly, kratom does not make me feel buzzed or high or suffer dependency issues. Kratom simply helps me take care of my home and my husband (who has end-stage COPD) with less pain and more energy and clarity than I ever had when taking prescription pain medications. I accept that I’ll never be entirely pain free. However, I’m committed to living up to my potential as a productive citizen and consuming kratom is an integral part of my health regimen.
The science is there for anyone who takes the time to look into it. The deaths that have been attributed to kratom are inaccurately reported.
I urge you to help keep kratom legal and accessible to the millions of people who rely on it to accomplish the daily activities of life that many take for granted.