The Waiting Room: How Allopathic Medicine Failed Me
According to recent surveys, most people take Kratom because they were cut off of their pain medication or lack health insurance. Or, they are unemployed, or fighting for disability which can take years, if they get approved at all.
Regulatory agencies and law enforcement should not be making medical decisions for millions of Americans who are suffering from chronic pain, depression or other conditions.
"Something is wrong when regulatory agencies pretend that vitamins [and herbal remedies] are dangerous, yet ignore published statistics showing that government-sanctioned medicine is the real hazard," states author Gary Null in his book, "Death by Prescription."
Comments about herbal medicine range from "Medical Marijuana is a Joke" by former DEA head Chuck Rosenberg to Scott Gotlieb's erroneous statements about kratom reveal that the government should not be involved in health care.
For example. one cannot get a prescription for a drug without first seeing a physician IN PERSON. By that logic, neither should regulatory agencies and law enforcement make medical decisions for people they have no history with and with whom they've never spoken.
They are making blanket decisions that harm our health.
Emergency room physician Ed Boyer's statement regarding using kratom to treat opioid withdrawal made sweeping assumptions about the people who are taking kratom, saying that, "Providing something that you can just walk into a head shop and purchase ... you eliminate getting true professional help."
Another statement made by FDA spokesperson more recently:
“As our nation struggles with epidemic levels of opioid abuse, we should be doing everything possible to ensure that those suffering with addiction have access to FDA-approved medicines and appropriate treatment options; not unregulated substances bought and sold over the internet,” said FDA spokeswoman Katherine Pfaff
These statements make erroneous assumptions that people have access to the following :
- Steady employment with health benefits
- The ability to take time off once a month to go to the doctor
- Gas money or bus money
- The desire to take synthetic pharmaceutical drugs in the first place
Now I'm going to speak for not just myself but for the hundreds of people I've spoken to over the past two years.
Most of us take kratom because we were CUT OFF from our pain medications. In my case, the DEA decided, without speaking to me or anyone else, that Tramadol should be scheduled, citing "potential for abuse."
On August 18th, 2014, the Drug Enforcement Administration scheduled Tramadol as a Schedule IV substance.
And that wasn't the first time they busted into the lives of people who were dependent on pain medication that WORKED FOR THEM. Before that, the FDA discontinued Darvacet, a mild pain killer which I was on for pain.
I was taking Darvacet and they took that away.
Later I was prescribed Tramadol and then they took that away.
And now they want to take the only affordable option we have away. It could be regulated which would be ideal but they don't seem to be headed in that direction.
I had to go through hell just to even get the Tramadol. All I was trying to do was live a normal life and to do that I had to be able to function. In 2012 I had gone back to college in an attempt to get my life back together after years of pain and depression had stolen any semblance of a normal life.
Over a period of two weeks I went to the ER three times before anyone would take me seriously.
I was judged. I was condescended to. I was placed on steroids despite the fact that I told the ER physician that I could not take them due to having been diagnosed with bipolar disorder.
Finally, on the third trip, I was taken seriously when a doctor actually listened to me and ordered an MRI which revealed the cause of my pain. When my chiropractor saw the MRI, he said, "It looks like you're screwed."
The MRI revealed a herniated disc, two pinched nerves (one on the right side of my neck and the other on my left) cervical osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease and bursitis.
I was given a ten day supply of Lortab and sent home and told to see my family physician.
When I went to see my GP, he gave me a prescription for 4 tramadol a day and that amount worked great. Nothing more, nothing less. But when I could no longer afford to pay $125 a visit plus $30 a month for my meds, I had to go to the county clinic where I would sit - all. day. long. Just to get a reduced amount of Tramadol because "they weren't allowed to prescribe more than that."
So, I ran out early, of course, because there was no point in only taking two a day. It didn't work. Then I was accused of "drug seeking."
That's when I found kratom. But I couldn't afford that either because I was getting it from a head shop in Pensacola that charged $30 for 15g. When I would run out, I never had withdrawal symptoms. Not like I did with synthetic pharmaceuticals.
Then they put me on several drugs such as Gabapentin, Elavil, Trazodone, Zoloft and Topamax. I had to take FIVE drugs instead of ONE and ended up in the ER with serotonin syndrome and nearly died.
If that wasn't enough, I was later diagnosed with Interstitial Cystitis, an excruciatingly painful disease that impacts the person's quality of life about the same as having cancer. Also, IC causes extreme psychological distress.
After a while of being on those drugs, I could no longer function at all. I couldn't get out of bed. I couldn't think and I lost my memory.
I also had two failed surgeries.
I'd had enough of being in the Waiting Room. My whole life revolved around going to doctors. None of them listened and the one who did said, "I'm sorry, I'm not allowed to prescribe that."
So I went on Facebook determined to find a way to learn how to buy kratom that didn't cost an arm and a leg and that's when I found the American Kratom Association's Facebook page and learned everything there was to know about this fascinating plant.
And so, here we are now. Fighting yet again for "permission" to treat our own health. For permission from regulatory agencies and law enforcement agencies who are not medical professionals and have no business treating individuals with whom they have no relationship.
This has been going on since at least the 17th century when my ancestor Nicholas Culpeper (with whom I even share a birthday!) fought for medical freedom.
It is time for this nonsense to end.
I will not spend the rest of my life in a doctor's waiting room. I want to go out and LIVE and if I have to leave the country to do that, then that's exactly what I'll do. Unless the regulatory agencies decide I can't do that either since they seem hell bent on ruining any shred of dignity and happiness chronic pain patients find.