Is Kratom the Only Problem? Is Kratom Even a Problem?
Although the Clearwater Beacon’s article technically did provide perspectives both for and against kratom use, it was overall antagonistic towards kratom using emotionally charged language and even a judgmental tone at times to make its implicit stance against kratom.
In light of the scientific evidence in support of kratom’s medicinal uses and in support of further kratom research, the Beacon’s antagonistic treatment of kratom in their article can be called into question. Putting aside the question of whether or not kratom was to blame for all of the issues brought up in the article, kratom at the very least certainly did reveal a lot of deep-seated issues in the Clearwater community and American community at large when it comes to high school students, group home workers, and mental health among other things.
The story of the high school students who were allegedly brain damaged by kratom is tragic and undoubtedly warrants an investigation. One parent brought up the point, “When (tea rooms) put a sign up across the street from a high school saying this will help you with anxiety, it draws kids in.”
However, the bigger issue at hand is arguably not that kratom is being promoted to help with anxiety, but rather that high school students suffering from crippling anxiety are so commonplace that kratom’s marketing could be perceived as targeted. Why are high school students struggling so much with anxiety at such a young age and such an early stage in life? And why has this apparently unconsciously been accepted as commonplace?
In addition to this, the Beacon’s article raised a number of red flags and drew attention to numerous issues:
- Why was a group home employee, with a disabled adult under his care, able to apparently go wherever whenever he wanted?
- Why did no one at the group home notice that the employee and disabled adult were missing for hours?
- Why was the group home employee who was apparently unstable and charged with caring for a vulnerable population so casually in possession of an illegal firearm?
Pinellas County Sheriff Gualtieri brought up the point that “A license to use [kratom] is not a license to do stupid stuff like this or a license to act in an irresponsible way to people, especially people you have a caregiver relationship over.”
The Beacon’s article ends with the story of a 27-year-old struggling with addiction to prescription opioids who allegedly died from kratom intoxication and the story of his mother who created a support group for those whose family members were affected by kratom.
Although this incident was included in an article on banning kratom, the mother actually believed the incident called for further research on kratom—not a ban. She was well aware of her son’s battle with addiction and “support[ed] research to find out if the substance can safely help people like her son.”
On the kratom-related incidents, Pinellas County Sheriff Gualtieri further brought up some critical points about the dangers of irresponsible use of legal substances saying that their legality “doesn’t negate the obligation to use them in a responsible way” and that “Alcohol had been legal a long time — forever — and people don’t use that responsibly and now there’s all that other stuff out there.”
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The Scapegoating of the Unknown
There is much to be said about the meaning and implications of the possible kratom ban and how it relates to and affects kava. This discussion will be continued in the next kava conversation.
End of Part 2