To schedule interviews with AKA spokespersons about the FDA's recent release or other legislative issues related to kratom, please contact Pete Candland, Executive Director at the AKA, (703-608-4649) or email

May 02, 2018

Inaugural Kratom Leadership Summit showcases collaboration between scientists, advocates, community


Media Contact:

Pete Candland


Inaugural Kratom Leadership Summit showcases collaboration between scientists, advocates, community


ATLANTA, GA—More than 50 leading kratom vendors and advocacy groups gathered to discuss the future of kratom in America at the first Kratom Leadership Summit on Monday, April 30. Hosted by the American Kratom Association, attendees discussed strategies to keep the plant legal despite efforts to ban it by the Food and Drug Administration.

“The Kratom Leadership Summit brought together dozens of leading actors in the kratom community for the first time to find common ground to overcome the challenges before us,” said American Kratom Association Board Chairman Dave Herman. “It was amazing to see so many kratom vendors and advocates dedicated to improving the lives of people nationwide through collaborative efforts.”

Read full press release HERE

Apr 26, 2018

Letter of Concern



Media Contact:

Pete Candland


Hogan Lovells Issues “Letter of Concern” to FDA on Behalf of the American Kratom Association


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- April 26, 2018 -- Law firm Hogan Lovells has issued a “Letter of Concern” to Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D. on behalf of the American Kratom Association, America’s leading kratom advocacy organization.


Partners Martin J. Hahn and Lynn W. Mehler issued the letter on April 23, 2018, condemning the FDA’s efforts to push a mandatory recall on all kratom products in light of the current salmonella outbreak among some kratom-related products.


Hogan Lovells and AKA “urge the FDA to apply the same rigorous and investigative standards when investigating the links between salmonella and certain kratom products that the agency has utilized when investigating other food safety outbreaks.”


According to the letter, “such an FDA position would also unfairly penalize those companies who adhere to rigorous food safety requirements and whose products are not implicated in the disease outbreak.” It concludes that “such an FDA position would exceed the statutory authority for mandatory recalls under the language carefully crafted by Congress when enacting the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) in 2010.”


Hahn and Mehler also make clear that while AKA – on behalf of the kratom community – “is fully supportive of the need to recall any product that has the potential to contain salmonella,” data must demonstrate that a specific product has been contaminated. AKA and Hogan Lovells say the FDA’s effort to recall all kratom products falls outside of this regulatory norm as well as outside the FDA’s mandatory recall authority.


In addition to clarifying the legal parameters of FDA authority under the FSMA and Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FFDCA), Hogan Lovells’ letter stresses the burden of proof in each case rests solely upon the FDA.


The letter closes by urging the FDA to not lump the good in with the bad. “The companies that adhere to rigorous food safety requirements should not get pulled into an industry-wide mandatory recall, particularly given the lack of such authority under the FFDCA.”




About the American Kratom Association


The American Kratom Association (AKA), a consumer-based non-profit organization, is here to set the record straight about kratom and give a voice to those who are suffering and protect their rights to possess and consume kratom. AKA represents tens of thousands of Americans, each of whom has a unique story to tell about the virtues of kratom and its positive effects on their lives.

Apr 09, 2018

Kratom Recall 2018: What You Need to Know About the Drug's Safety

For a drug that a lot of people have never heard of, kratom has gotten a lot of press coverage lately. Last week, the United States Food and Drug Administration announced a mandatory recall of all kratom products from one distributor following a rash of reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that a multi-state Salmonella outbreak linked to kratom has sickened 132 people in 38 states. While there is reason for concern, it’s important to attribute it to the right factors. A closer look at the situation and the scientific literature on kratom reveals there’s a lot more to it than current alarmist headlines suggest.

Read full article HERE

Mar 13, 2018

People Are Worried That the FDA Is Trying to Ban Kratom

The DEA proposed banning kratom in 2016 but backed off following massive public pressure. Instead, it asked the FDA to conduct a formal scientific evaluation.

Earlier this month, the Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced that they were investigating a multistate outbreak of salmonella infections. The agencies reported that 40 people in 27 states got sick, and 14 had been hospitalized. Investigators said that 17 of the 24 people they’ve interviewed reported consuming kratom before getting sick, and a strain of salmonella was identified in leftover kratom powder from people who got sick in North Dakota and Utah.

The news is the latest in a recent series of government announcements about kratom, an herb derived from the leaves of a Southeast Asian tree that many people say has helped them with pain, anxiety, and even symptoms of opioid withdrawal. Research has shown kratom’s potential as an opioid substitute, offering pain relief seemingly without the life-threatening side effect of respiratory depression. More research needs to be done, experts say, but they see important—even life-saving—potential.


Mar 09, 2018

FDA is using 'bad science' by claiming kratom is an opioid

By Dave Herman, opinion contributor — 03/09/18 01:15 PM EST

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill

Last month, the Food & Drug Administration (FDA) continued its attacks on kratom, a natural plant used by millions of Americans for an improved quality of life and pain reduction. According to the FDA, kratom should be banned for its opioid-like qualities, its potential deadliness, and its link to 23 salmonella poisonings across the country.

Let’s break down all of these falsehoods. 


First, regulation is the better approach than banning. Kratom users won’t go away if it’s made illegal; the plant has been imported for years because of its popularity and safe use in Asia.

Making it illegal may simply send people to the black market, as happened with alcohol after Prohibition a century ago. Responsible kratom policy includes regulation, not banning. 


Mar 08, 2018

A closer look at deaths the FDA misleadingly links to kratom

By Sal Rodriguez | | Orange County Register

PUBLISHED: March 8, 2018 at 2:00 pm | UPDATED: March 8, 2018 at 3:14 pm

Editor’s note: Breaking views are thoughts from individual members of the editorial board on today’s headlines.

It’s no secret that drug warriors at the Food and Drug Administration and Drug Enforcement Administration want to ban the pain-relieving plant kratom.

In 2016, the DEA announced plans to place the plant, which has been safely used by millions of people for hundreds of years, into the highly restrictive Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. As with marijuana and LSD, which are also Schedule I drugs, this would prohibit kratom for any use under federal law.


Mar 02, 2018

Is Herbal Drug Kratom a Health Friend or Foe?

US News & World Report

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, March 2, 2018 (HealthDay News) -- What's the truth about the herbal drug kratom?

Is it a potentially dangerous opioid that needs to be tightly regulated, as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has argued in recent months?

Or is it a misunderstood natural product that provides people in pain an alternative to opioids, a point of view asserted by a number of scientists who've studied kratom?

Disagreement centers largely upon the herb's ability to activate opioid receptors in the brain, experts say.

The FDA claims kratom is an opioid based on computer analysis showing that its most prevalent compounds activate receptors in the brain that also respond to heroin, morphine, oxycodone and other opioids.


Feb 27, 2018

Open Letter to the FDA: End the Attacks on Alternative Pain Management Therapies

Dear Commissioner Gottlieb,

On November 1, 2017 the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis issued a blistering rebuke of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and its failures to protect public health.
Despite rising numbers of overdoses and opioid-related fatalities, the FDA’s “inadequate oversight” failed to assure the safety, efficacy, and security of human drugs, significantly contributing to the opioid crisis in America today.

Citing nearly two decades of insufficient regulatory oversight on opioids, the Commission detailed the specific failures to protect public safety, even when overdose deaths mounted and when evidence of safe use of chronic consumers of opioids was substantially lacking.


Feb 23, 2018

by Dave Herman | Feb 23, 2018, 12:01 AM

According to the Centers for Disease Control, opioids were involved in over 42,000 deaths in 2016. This crisis is tearing apart families across the country and killing far more people than either guns or cars.

As the White House, Congress, and many states scramble to address the spread of opioids, one federal agency is actually trying to block a naturally-occurring plant that is providing a lifeline for millions of addicted Americans — kratom.

Feb 22, 2018

Washington, D.C. – February 22, 2018 –  This week has seen alarming developments in the FDA's continued efforts to bar access to the plant-based health supplement known as kratom. 


In the wake of the CDC's report on certain kratom supplements containing salmonella and the FDA's release calling for voluntary destruction of kratom supplements, American Kratom Association Chairman of the Board, Dave Herman, has issued the following statement:


"Once again, the Food & Drug Administration is going against sound science in its war against kratom.


This natural botanical is used by millions of Americans to maintain their overall health and well-being—in the same way that coffee, natural supplements, and other life-improving products are used every day.


Feb 12, 2018

Kratom, an alternative to traditional pain management that America desperately needs.

100 million Americans live with chronic pain, many of them relying on opiate pain medication to manage their debilitating symptoms. At the same time, opiate abuse is now an epidemic of historic proportions in the US, and is killing almost 200 people a day. There is a very real need for a safe, effective alternative for managing pain, and thousands of people have found an alternative: an ancient plant known as Kratom from the jungles of Indonesia.

You won’t hear about Kratom from your doctor, because herbal medicine is not taught in medical school. It’s not approved by the FDA, which is unlikely to change in the immediate future, as the FDA is ardently fighting to schedule the plant as a controlled substance. On February 6, 2018 they released a statement labeling the plant an opiate, implying that it should be controlled in a similar manner as morphine, fentanyl, and heroin, due to its interaction with opiate receptors. Their stance ignores the fact that not all opiate agonists have the same effect on the body. Other medications that interact with opiate receptors include Dextromethorphan, a main ingredient in cough syrup, and Loperamide, a antidiarrheal medication. Both are approved by the FDA and sold over the counter. Kratom too is unique in its interaction with the brain’s receptors, and notably does not cause the deadly respiratory depression that leads to opiate induced deaths.

Dec 13, 2017

Lawmakers Push Back Against The Latest Flimsy Campaign To Crack Down On Kratom

Members of the U.S. House began circulating two Dear Colleague letters on Wednesday, urging their fellow lawmakers to take a stand against renewed federal efforts to crack down on the herbal drug kratom.

One letter, written by Reps. Jared Polis (D-Colo.) and Dave Brat (R-Va.) and addressed to the Food and Drug Administration, describes kratom as a tool to help fight the opioid epidemic and says the agency has shown “insufficient” evidence to warrant any official warning or action against kratom.

“I have heard from families who, like too many others, have dealt with opioid addiction and who have found relief in Kratom,” said Polis in a statement to HuffPost. “Kratom, a cousin of the coffee plant, is another naturally-occurring alternative to addictive opioids. It should be legal and available for those struggling with addiction. We need new ideas and approaches to end the opioid crisis along with better access to mental health services, substance abuse treatment, and education about the dangers of drug abuse.”

Dec 09, 2017

FDA Head Tweets New Warning About Kratom

Pain News Network

By Pat Anson, Editor

The head of the Food and Drug Administration is warning again about the marketing of kratom and other dietary supplements to treat opioid addiction – calling them “health fraud scams.”

“FDA believes strongly people addicted to opioids should have access to safe and effective, approved treatments for addiction. Unfortunately, unscrupulous vendors are trying to capitalize on opioid epidemic by illegally marketing products for these purposes,” FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, MD, warned on Twitter Friday.

Dec 08, 2017

FOIA Docs Show FDA’s Data on Kratom Deaths is Complete Propaganda

As the FDA fearmongers over alleged Kratom associated deaths, documents on these deaths reveal that the American people are being lied to.

Last Month, Scott Gottlieb, commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration, issued a public health advisory on kratom, outlining concerns about its “deadly risks.” However, Nick Wing, a senior reporter at the HuffPost, submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Food and Drug Administration to put a second set of eyes on these allegedly deadly associations. What the FDA released under the FOIA request is now raising serious concerns about the validity and perhaps the motive for this senseless government fear mongering.

In their report, the FDA cited 36 deaths associated with the use of kratom. But the data they released to HuffPost showed only eight. Of these eight reports, not a single one confirmed a death caused by kratom.

Dec 08, 2017

WBT100 Pete Candland Interview

Great interview with American Kratom Association’s Executive Director, Pete Candland.  Starts at the 30 minute mark.

Nov 28, 2017

Does Kratom Really Kill? Officials Aren’t Telling Us The Whole Story

by: Nick Wing

Authorities claim the popular herbal drug poses potentially deadly risks, but there are big problems with their evidence.

John Grove stood out among the dozens of fatal drug overdose victims the Georgia Bureau of Investigation examined in November 2016.

It wasn’t just the 34-year-old’s hulking frame. At 6 feet 4 inches and nearly 270 pounds at autopsy, Grove’s muscular body showed few signs of the years he’d spent battling opioid addiction.

Nov 25, 2019

FDA’s recent attack on Kratom based on lies and junk science, warns herbal group

by: Lance D Johnson  

(Natural News) “The thing that bugs me is that the people think the FDA is protecting them – it isn’t. What the FDA is doing and what the public thinks it’s doing are as different as night and day.” These are the words of Dr. Herbert L. Ley Jr., spoken in an interview with the New York Times in 1969. Dr. Ley was appointed Commissioner for the Food and Drug Administration in 1968, but his tenure was cut short because his bold decision-making adversely affected the financial interests of the pharmaceutical industry. He tried to stop the market of pharmaceutical products approved between 1938 and 1962 that had no proof of efficacy.

Nov 21, 2017

Kratom News: Advocates of the Herb Fight on as FDA Takes Over Legality

In August of 2016 the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) announced a plan to ban kratom in the United States, causing an uproar among advocates of the seemingly harmless herb, which is closely related in makeup to the coffee plant. Specifically, the agency was looking to outlaw the compounds mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine found in kratom.

The DEA eventually withdrew their intent to schedule kratom, but the issue has now been handed over to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Nov 14, 2017

Feds Prepare For A New War On Kratom, An Herbal Drug Many Swear By

The DEA had previously tried to ban it. Now the FDA is leading the charge.

More than a year after backtracking on plans to ram through a ban on the herbal supplement kratom, federal authorities once again appear to be getting ready to crack down on the botanical drug used by many Americans.

Oct 25, 2017

CNN Outfront - The Opioid Crisis

CNN OutFront with Dr. Sanjay Gupta

The Opioid Epidemic  Part Three - Kratom; A herb that Could help addicts...

Hard copy can be read HERE

Jul 18, 2017

Congress Wants More Power To Ban Drugs—Kratom Could Be Next

by Troy Farah

The Controlled Substances Act of 1971 might be getting a facelift—and the outcome is not looking good for kratom and psychedelic advocates. Meet the SITSA Act, or Stop the Importation and Trafficking of Synthetic Analogues Act of 2017, introduced to Congress last month by Senators Dianne Feinstein and Chuck Grassley.

According to the American Kratom Association, this law could get passed much sooner than later. In an email dated July 11th, new Chairman of the Board Dave Herman wrote: “Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, wants the SITSA Act pushed through the House before the upcoming August recess to show action in the fight against the opioid epidemic—so there will be little time for consideration of any amendments in this accelerated scheduling.”

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