After Denver Environmental Health prohibited sales of kratom for human consumption in the wake of a U.S. Food and Drug Administration alert late last year, advocates for the plant-based pain reliever spoke out, with many saying the product had helped them kick addictions to powerful opioids, including heroin. These testimonials are echoed by Roxanne Gullikson, facility director for Portland, Maine’s Greener Pastures Holisticare, a residential treatment center opening next month that will use kratom in combination with marijuana as part of a formal and comprehensive addiction treatment regimen. To her, Denver’s ban is both unjustified and potentially damaging.
“It’s very counterintuitive,” Gullikson says. “With the rising rates of deaths by overdoses, we need to have all options on the table. And certainly, removing one that’s non-toxic and non-lethal makes no sense at all.”