Some say Kratom works as an opioid alternative despite FDA warnings
A 1996 car crash changed Dan Colvin's life.
"I broke my face and I have plates in my face," he said sitting at his dining room table. "They really don't bother me, but I have plates in my arm. The older I get, it's just agony sometimes."
To relieve that agony, his doctor prescribed him Tramadol, when that didn't work he was prescribed Vicodin.
"As time goes on, your tolerance builds up and you gotta take more and more. Sometimes you're running out two weeks short," he said.
Doctors could only give him a certain amount of pills for a certain period of time.
"I ran out of my Vicodin one time," he said. "The withdrawals are agony."
After some research, he found a drug called Kratom that required no prescription. After a quick trip to a tobacco shop in Peoria he found his alternative.
"As soon as I hit the car, I took a very small dose and I was fine," he said. "It was amazing."
Now, he orders it online from a company called SK Herbalist in Colorado Springs.
"It is tested for heavy metals, different contaminates and salmonella," he added. "I'm not worried at all to be honest with you."
Kratom has come under scrutiny lately. The FDA calls it an opioid and says its
claiming 44 people have died associated to it.
Even though it is legal in both Iowa and Illinois, it is illegal in five states.
Colvin believes the product he buys is safe, and his alternative to Vicodin. Plus, he's gotten approval from his doctor.
"He says if I can trade my opiate pills for a natural plant, go for it," Colvin said. "I feel like I got the green light."
Recently, the FDA issued a
One case has been linked to SK Herbalist, the product Colvin uses.
He says each batch he buys is tested and labeled. So, he believes if there was an outbreak, he would be able to tell if the product he purchased was connected.