Kratom users in Tucson push back after FDA announcement

(Source: Tucson News Now)
(Source: Tucson News Now)
Updated: Feb. 7, 2018 at 6:43 PM MST
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(Source: Tucson News Now)
(Source: Tucson News Now)

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Any time the Food and Drug Administration shouts down kratom, the owners of Miracle Koffee in Tucson notice an increase in business.

The shop on Broadway Boulevard east of Campbell Avenue doesn't sell coffee, it specializes in powders and capsules of kratom.

The FDA announced Tuesday, February 6, that the herbal supplement from Southeast Asia contained similar chemicals to what's found in opioids. It cited researched that connected 44 deaths since 2011 to kratom.

Some of those deaths involved other substances or other circumstances. Jill Fickett, with Miracle Koffee, said blaming kratom for those deaths is misleading. She said kratom alone could not do that.

"Your body will reject it all on its own," said Fickett. "It's literally impossible for somebody to die from kratom."

Valle Janes, buying a couple bags Wednesday for some tea, said she enjoys how kratom relaxes her without leaving her any sort of "after effect". She can feel at ease and still function.

The FDA does not regulate kratom, but Janes said she trusts Miracle Koffee. She wouldn't want to buy her product from a random seller or any online listing. In fact, she trusts the team at Miracle Koffee more than what the FDA has said about her alternative to prescription pills.

"I feel like they're being dishonest with what they're deciding," said Janes. "I feel like the pharmaceutical companies want to shut it down, take it over and then prescribe it and make people pay a ton."

For Fickett, she's worried that banning kratom could cause those who use it to shake their old habits will pick them back up again.

"If they do ban it, then people are just going to go back on the street and do what they've been doing and there will be a hell of a lot more deaths on their hands," she said.

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