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How The Hell Did I Get Involved With Kratom? - by Chris Bell

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  • How The Hell Did I Get Involved With Kratom? - by Chris Bell

    The answer is as organic as the plant itself. After finishing my film Prescription Thugs, I was fresh out of rehab at Cliffside Malibu. Rehab taught me many valuable lessons about myself and also allowed me to unplug for 90 days and really think about who I am and why I’m here on Earth. I realized that I had a voice. Out of all of the people I went to rehab with, I was really the only one that had a platform to fight against the injustice that brought everyone else there. Did you know that 85% of the people in rehabs across the country are there because they started on Prescription drugs? Usually painkillers? Then they switch to heroin. Well, we make those drugs here in America and we also consume 99% of them. If we build a wall, it’d just keep out the heroin, but the real problem would still be contained to our own backyard.

    Prescription Thugs debuted at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival. From the day it came out, I’ve been helping people get sober and stay sober. They contact me on social media, they email me, text me, or track me down somehow, but I make myself pretty easy to find. The problem is that the only way I could help people was to push them towards AA or get them into a rehab. I’d say about 80% of the time, it’s not even a possibility for people. They can’t afford it or they can’t take time off of work. So think about that, how many people are checked out at their own job, because they can’t get any help? That just sucks, but what does it have to do with kratom? I’m getting there.

    The film did a lot to warn people of the dangers of opioids, benzodiazepines, and other dangerous Rx drugs, but it didn’t offer a solution. Simply because I didn’t have one and quite frankly, I didn’t think it was possible.

    In promotion for Prescription Thugs, I appeared on one of Dr Drew’s podcasts. In our conversation, he told me that in a large scale study that a combination of Advil and Tylenol was found to be more effective for treating pain than opioids. I thought he was bullshitting me. So I looked it up. He was right. A huge study was conducted to see what patients preferred in a double blind comparison. I started on a regimen of 1 Advil and 1 Tylenol every few hours. It didn’t really do much. So I started taking 2 of each every few hours and my pain was gone. I thought “Ok, I solved that problem.” I was excited to be able to tell people that I had found relief from my pain and maybe they could too.

    I was so excited to get on the Joe Rogan podcast and talk about how my new protocol was helping me, but it was short lived. I did mention that’s how I get by on the podcast, but it didn’t go as planned. I got a bunch of messages from this guy on Facebook named Justin House. That name rang a bell. I think I know him from the gym. It turns out, we just knew of each other. He was a top amateur bodybuilder and I was a powerlifter, both training at Gold’s Gym in Venice, also known as The Mecca of Bodybuilding. Justin had moved back to England, but he started following me after I came out with Bigger Stronger Faster*. Like most people in fitness, he told me “you said everything, I’ve ever wanted to say.” The brilliance of Bigger Stronger Faster is just that. I just said what we all wanted to say. I didn’t have any more information than any of them, I was just lucky that I happened to go to film school and also was a meathead. Anyway, Justin called me and he was pretty frantic. “Chris, I know we don’t really know each other, but you have to listen to me.” He continued on and told me that he had to have a kidney transplant recently. He said that he was a former opioid addict due to a cancer that he contracted in his back muscles. The cancer actually broke his spine. Needless to say that this man knows the word “pain”. Justin eventually had to get off all of the opioids as they were killing him. He decided to start taking Advil and was taking 20 a day to deal with his pain. Within 3 years of taking 20 Advil a day, his kidney was shot and he needed a new one. The whole process landed him right back on opioids and suboxone (which helps you get off opioids). Because of all of his medical conditions, he still must take suboxone to deal with the pain, but it’s probably a better choice than the other opioids.

    Suboxone is a definite no go for me. I had spent a year addicted to it. It was harder getting off Suboxone by far than any other drug or alcohol. I ended up in the ER twice just trying to get off of it. You know what they did at the ER? They gave me Xanax and sent me on my way. Soon after I needed Xanax all of the time and started buying that on the streets too. I’m telling you people all of these drugs will turn you into a slave for them. You’ll do anything for them and not only are you doing it for free, you’re doing it while losing a lot of money and everything you’ve ever fought for.

    There had to be another option.

    The fun part of my films is that I like to make real connections. I like to say “This is my friend Horshu. He wrestled for the WWE. He was taking 90 pain pills a day, until he had a stroke.” It’s just the way I like to tell stories. I can flesh out entire scenarios using people that I know and that I know are telling me the truth. Horshu was the epitome of honesty. In one story that didn’t make the movie (I’m still mad at my editor for it) Horshu described getting a speeding ticket in the mail. In Arizona they have cameras on the freeway and if you’re speeding, they snap a picture of you and send you the ticket. Horshu got a ticket for going 95 in a 65. There’s a picture on the ticket so they can prove it’s you in court. In the picture, he’s SLEEPING. Somehow he got home alright now, but that’s how scary these drugs are. Is the guy speeding next to your family sleeping? Horshu has made a complete 180 and shortly after linked up with an old friend who was selling kratom. Once Horshu tried it, he called me immediately.

    “Hey Bro, you ever heard of kratom? I’m telling you man, you have to try this.” I had heard of kratom and actually tried it before, but I never gave it a fair shot. You know why? I didn’t think that anything natural could really work. I’ve been so programmed by Pharma and so disappointed in supplements that it made sense to me that only drugs could actually do anything. I was wrong. Horshu came to my house with his friend Kelly Dunn. Kelly owns Urban Ice Organics. They are one of the bigger companies in the kratom business.

    Upon giving kratom a fair go, it only took about a month for me to say “This plant could solve the opioid crisis.” I just kept thinking that people need to know about this. Hmmmm, maybe we could do a documentary on it, but who would care? Who would watch it? How could I make it feel important? That wasn’t really as important as the fact that people needed to know about this plant. I teamed up with Kelly Dunn at Urban Ice. Kelly had introduced me to kratom and had said something to me that really stuck with me. Kelly said “In Prescription Thugs I was cheering you on, but when it got to the end, there was no real solution. Kratom is a solution.” With that statement we decided to pick up the cameras and get to work. It wouldn’t be long before this work took on a whole new meaning. Just a few months into filming, the DEA announced an intent to ban kratom. This documentary wasn’t just going to be about awareness, it turned into activism. The fight with the DEA died down, but the battle has come back stronger through the FDA.

    It is now that we have to fight harder, be smarter, and wage this war in the proper way. Kratom companies will have to come clean and test all of their products. They will have to stop hiding behind things like the term “Not For Human Consumption”. For Kratom to stay legal, we need to fix things on both sides. Only then will we be able to keep our Leaf Of Faith.

    -To Be Continued

  • #2
    Thank you for doing this, Chris. For coming to the rally in DC, hearing our stories, and joining this fight. Can't wait to see the film!


    • #3
      Hey Man, Thanks For your Help.


      • #4
        Thanks, Chris. I am so excited for this film to be released. It can't happen soon enough.


        • #5
          Thank you for doing this! I can't wait to see it! ❤


          • #6
            My name is Aaron Brown. I'm 35 years old, I live in Tulsa Oklahoma and I am a US NAVY Veteran.
            I proudly served my nation in Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom.
            During my training at NAS PENSACOLA Search and Rescue unit.
            I was severely injured. Instead accepting a medical discharge, I continued my NAVY career in the fleet.
            Through the rest of my career I received numerous other injuries.
            Also during deployment I suffered great emotion trauma in which drove me to attempting suicide while deployed. I was confronted about the incident and I was honest. Nothing was done. I was told to keep quiet until we got back home, and that if It were to be reported that it would leave a bad mark against our commanding officer.

            After coming home, I again fell deeper into a dark place to where I put my shotgun in my mouth and pulled the trigger. But my shotgun misfired and when I pulled the barrel away from my mouth the gun fired.
            I went to my unit flight surgeon and told him what I had done and again I was made to feel stupid for it and to keep quiet. Drinking had become my obsession to the point of receiving a DUI. I was discharged shortly there after with no support what so ever from my so called NAVY brothers and sisters.
            Years after my discharge I suffered in physical, mental and emotional pain. I was diagnosed with PTSD, DEPRESSION AND SEVERE SOCIAL ANXIETY DISORDER WITH SUICIDAL TENDENCIES. And because of OTH discharge I was stripped of my benefits not being able to seek help from the VA. I felt abandoned by my NAVY brothers and sisters. Punished for asking for help and made to feel weak and worthless not worthy to wear the uniform that I wore so proudly. I had nothing and I wanted to end it all.
            I had become so dependant on pain pills to get out of bed to brush my teeth just to try and be functional.
            I stole from friends, from family. In order to support my gross addiction. So I could numb the pain in my body and in my brain.
            I finally was able to go see a doctor for my injuries to my back and legs.
            After numerous spinal injections and horrible side effects to medications such as Lyrica. The doctor felt that my only option was to take large amounts of opioid pain killers.
            Over time I needed more and more pills and stronger amounts.
            Until one day years later my Doctor informs me that due to new laws he can no longer prescribe the medication amounts he had given me for years and that my amount would be cut in half as well as the strength.
            After that it drove me back to buying pills on the streets. Every day fighting to not pull the trigger one more time hoping this time it would work.
            Finally I had hit rock bottom. I was about to contact someone to buy heroin and some needles. I was in so much pain from not having those
            Prescription drugs in my body I was looking for anything to take the pain away. Not from my injuries mind you but from the very medicine that was suppose to help with my pain was causing me more pain. Physically and mentally.
            Physical mental and emotional. In such a state of depression I would pee in a bottle next to my bed just so I wouldn't have to get out of bed.
            Ready once more to end my life. I didn't have a life. I wasn't living. I was trapped in a world where nothing else mattered except where I was gonna get more pills.
            One night laying in bed I was looking on my phone on Facebook looking for pills. Then something came over me. Something told me to research how to get off opioids and live without pain. I know it was my families prayers to God to help me. And I can't thank them enough for never giving up on me. I was only moments away from plunging a needle into my vein, in which might have been my last moments on earth.
            I looked and looked and finally came across videos and testimonies about KRATOM.
            I had no idea what it was, but through the videos and researching this plant, this amazing and wonderful plant which has no narcotics in it at all. Was the answer I had been praying for.
            I found a professional place that sold the kratom powder.
            I spoke with the sales lady and told her my story. She gave me some free packets. Came around the corner and prayed with me and reminded me that I'm worth staying alive. I'm better than those pills and needles. I'm worth living.
            I went home and took my first dose, within 20 minutes my back pain was gone. I had energy, and my anxiety went away. My depression and thoughts of despair were no longer at the fore front of my thoughts. I finally felt like my old self before the injuries. I was living, I felt human again.
            This wonderful amazing plant saved my life.
            I've continued to take kratom daily.
            I've stopped taking pills, I've stopped drinking, I stopped smoking and i have a full time job now that i enjoy. I got my life back.

            I fought for this country once and im going to fight for it again, here and now on our own soil. MY NAVY AND GOVERNMENT MAY HAVE LEFT ME TO ROT AND DIE FOR ALL THEY CARED, BUT I'M NOT GIVING UP ON MY COUNTRY AND MY FELLOW VETERANS AND AMERICANS
            I swore alligence to this great country of mine. To protect this land against all enemies foreign and domestic. I am here to fight against the enemies that are trying to oppress my right as an American to pursue happiness and liberty.
            Our own government is making choices that are swayed by the evils of corruption and lining their pockets with blood money.
            Letting the FDA DEA AND BIG PHARMA all corrupt our government leaders who are not for the people. The people are speaking now!

            My WAR might have ended over seas, but it's just beginning right here in this land I fought and would proudly die for.
            A new WAR has begun. To KEEP KRATOM LEGAL!
            The lies that are being spread by these agencies are influenced by false reports.
            big pharma doesn't want the truth to be told. So they are willing to spend billions of dollars to CONDEM the United States of America to a death sentence.
            Please stand up for what is right with me and your fellow Americans

            I BELIEVE IN YOU.
            Please stand with me and help our voices be heard.

            Aaron Brown
            US NAVY VETERAN
            TULSA OKLAHOMA


            • ZephyrJobb
              ZephyrJobb commented
              Editing a comment
              Your story is amazing and we’re honored to have you here with us fighting for this leaf.

            • Chelseawind
              Chelseawind commented
              Editing a comment
              Aaron Brown, Thank you for your service & sacrifice.

            • eye_no _nuttin
              eye_no _nuttin commented
              Editing a comment
              Aaron, Thankyou for your service. You are not alone, and I will stand with you to keep this plant legal!
              Thankyou for your story.

          • #7
            Thank you for all you do! I can't wait to see the film!


            • #8
              Hey Chris! I would love for you to hear my story:

              So about 4 months ago I was put in jail for a dirty drug test for Kratom, I've been on probation for about 2 and a half years and I have been using Kratom to fight off the opiate cravings I get. How did I get here today? Here's my story

              In 2009 I moved back to Los Angeles to attend M.I. to get my degree in sound engineering. Into my second semester I was diagnosed with testicular cancer and my whole life was turned upsidown. I had to drop out of school, my girlfriend and I broke up and I was kicked out of my apartment. I moved from Hollywood to Pasadena to re evaluate my life and where it was going. While I was in the hospital I was given liquid Dilaudid and sent out with a bottle of Oxi Contins. I can truly attest that painkillers don't just numb physical pain as I was taking them recreationally to cope with the emotional and mental stress of what I was going through. My addiction had not truly set off yet though because painkillers were hard to find for me at the time but any time I could find them I would buy them up and eat them like tic tacs.

              I had a MRI scan soon after surgery which revealed that I had no cancer cells in my body post surgery but an oncologist was trying to scare me into getting 3 rounds of chemo just to be safe. The way he tried to sell this to me seemed very shady and he came off sounding like a bad car salesman. He even told me that if I get this chemo treatment I could "eat all the McDonalds I wanted" after. I was researching cancer treatment a lot and found a variety of articles about doctors over prescribing chemotherapy to people who don't necessarily need it as they make a percentage of what is paid for it. I turned down chemo and refused to put that poison in my body and quickly because changing my diet and nutritional intake. I began exercising regularly, juicing and was ingesting cannabis oil twice daily. Needless to say I have been cancer free for almost 10 years now without any chemo or radiation; Only surgery and concentrated cannabis. But I would still have lots of anxiety and depression that I would battle over the years. If I had a migraine headache I would be scared that I might have a brain tumor or would wonder how long I had to live. So I would go out in LA, party, use drugs excessively, and hook up with random girls. I thought that if I was going to die in the next 1-3 years that I might as well live it up and have fun.

              I ended up getting a letter in the mail saying that I was dropped from medical because I was a "high risk" since I turned down chemotherapy. I had to file for an appeal and fight for months to get my medical back. They really didn't like the fact that I said no to chemo and chose cannabis instead but after months of fighting through the system I finally got my medical back.

              Eventually I got a job as a delivery driver for a local cannabis dispensary in Pasadena. I loved that job so very much. While I was doing this I was experimenting with growing cannabis in my closet as well. Long story short I quickly rose up the ranks and was promoted to managing two dispensaries and operating a 1000 plant grow OP in Torrance. The job was extremely satisfying and I was legitimately helping people who had serious health issues. During this time I had also found a steady source for Oxi Contin 80's and began taking them daily. At one point in time I was taking 3-4 80 mg Oxi's a day. I was working literally 12-14 hours every day and the Oxi's gave me the energy and motivation to push on. But during this time (I don't remember who or how I found out) I discovered Kratom and would use it on days I could not get Oxi, it helped tremendously with the physical withdrawal but even more it helped me with the mental cravings one faces after detox. I preferred the white vein Kratom strains as they gave me the most motivation and energy but without the horrible withdrawal that opiates had given me. From then on I would always stock Kratom in my house for that very reason.

              One day I was pulled over while transporting inventory from the dispensary and arrested. I bailed myself out and had to fight my case in court for over a year. I only had medical cannabis on me and even had all the licensing and paperwork that proved I was working for a legal medical dispensary. The district attorney had no desire to drop the charges however and this sent me back into a spiral of depression. I could not work for the dispensary anymore and had to fight my case. During which I eventually hung out with other addicts who turned me on to heroin. I was terrified of needles and even when I would see other people make that switch from pain pills to injecting heroin I resisted for a very long time, almost 10 years of popping pills and I was always resistant to trying heroin. But once I learned how to shoot myself up I never went back. I became a steady heroin addict, using every day for almost 6 months at that time. I eventually moved back up north to San Luis Obispo and tried to get off heroin. I ended up joining a methadone clinic for a 21 day detox which was in many ways harder to get off than the heroin. But I eventually did and continued to fight my case back in LA.

              After a year of court battles I ended up being charged with "intent to distribute" and a bunch of other charges for possessing medical marijuana. I was sentenced to jail time and had to drive back to LA to turn myself in. I remember the night before having to turn myself into jail I was using heroin again and ended up taking the metro down to skid row in downtown LA, coping some heroin and heading back to my hotel in Pasadena; shooting up constantly before the next day. I turned myself over to the courts, nodding off on heroin and went to what the call the "twin towers" which is LA county jail. I was dopesick for the first week of my stay in jail but I eventually sobered up and became a trustee inside the jail but I will tell you this; there are almost as many drugs in that jail as there are outside. I partied in that jail as well, not doing heroin but popping pills, smoking weed & tobacco and even snorting other various drugs. Regardless I never got into any trouble or fights and got along well with the other inmates while staying off the radar of the correctional officers. I did 65 days in that jail and was eventually released on Probation.

              I transferred my probation from LA county to San Luis Obispo county where I am currently living and am also on a drug court program which is very strict. For the beginning of my time in this program I was taking Kratom because honestly it is the ONLY thing that helps me with heroin cravings. I would take Kratom and my cravings for opiates would immediately disappear. Kratom also helps with my depression, anxiety, it gives me energy and motivation and I cant express enough how much its helped me to stay clean. Eventually the drug counselors in this drug court program had found out people were taking Kratom and invested some of the county money into buying drug test kits for Kratom. I was called into the probation offices and put in handcuffs for giving a dirty test for Kratom. I did 9 days in jail and had to fast track back to the beginning of drug court to start over. Now I'm halfway through drug court, I can't take Kratom but I'm staying clean. I've never before in my life wanted to stay off heroin as much as I do now but it is harder without Kratom. I refuse to get on Suboxone, or methadone; I do not like anti depressants and honestly with what I've been through Big Pharma can go fuck itself. I'll give clean tests from now on and get off this drug court program so that I can go back to taking Kratom and occasional cannabis but that's it for me. Cannabis and Kratom are the two things that have helped me the most and I will always fight for my freedom to treat my medial conditions the way I feel is right.

              Currently I'm 6 months clean off of opiates, my last relapse almost killed me and I woke up in the back of an ambulance. Had to get hit with narcan / naloxone a few times which saved my life. I should literally be dead right now and that experience scared me straight. I do not want my parents to have to bury their son and I don't ever want to go back to that life. My life is great right now, I work out every other day at the local YMCA, I work two jobs, I'm back in school getting my certification for Recording Arts & Addiction Psychology and I'm getting through drug court. The judge who assesses me eventually got my felonies for working at the medical dispensary dropped down to misdemeanors and when I graduate drug court my record will be expunged. I'm so happy to be where I'm at today. I'm also working on an addiction podcast that shares peoples stories of addiction.

              I can't thank Chris enough for the work he has put into his documentaries, they are inspiring and thought provoking. They shed light into the world of corruption inside these pharmaceutical corporations. The privatized prison systems are also not helping addicts. I could ramble on and on about this subject because I hold it very close to my heart, I've been through the system and know how horrible people are treated. Anyways, I would love to share more of my story to anyone who would like to hear it. This is the short version lol. I love you all out there who are battling your demons and I wish the best for each and every one of you. Thank you again Chris for everything you are doing and I'm so very proud of you for what you have overcome and everything you've done for all of us. Much Love. Brian .


              • #9
                Man you just had me crying. I talked to my friend who is a heroin addict about kratom and that was his exact response, "I have a bad habit an herb isn't going to help". He just passed away the other day of an overdose. I've known him since I was a child. It's amazing how this well this herb really works. I wish people wouldn't believe the bullshit propoganda. Like my aunt who is afraid to try it because of what the FDA has been saying about it. I can't wait till this documentary comes out. Thank you for sharing. So glad you, Justin and Horshu are all happy and clean today with Kelly's help ☺️ #TeamKratom


                • #10
                  I was a morbidly addicted to opiates (Norco, oxy, methadone,Percocets,Suboxone...) And benzodeazapines ( Xanax, Ativan, klonopin, Valium) for ten years..All prescribed. Some even forced. After the first 8 years of addiction living hell and suffering withdrawals Everytime I ran out of pills, I'd have to buy them illegally so I could function just to work and feed my kids. I became so morbidly addicted I decided to check into rehad, here in Sacramento,CA, unless your rich, you get no help, so I lost my job, applied for medi-cal and the only rehab that would take me refused to do so unless I got on liquid methadone treatment. I did! Went to the county clinics every day 5 am before work with young kids, just to realize I was worse off than before .I would nodd out at work, driving, etc. The result was a dose increase from 20ml up to 120 ml over short time. That was it I had it. Not to mention I was also taking 5-10 2mg Xanax tabs a day, 3 at a time and living life . I decided to stop all. I got extremely sick and entered into a comma for three days. No one knew how to treat me. Doctor wanted to treat me for overdose, but in fact I was withdrawing with zero drugs in my system. This even happened several times over next few years until I ended up in a mental facility accused of being in a psychosis state with all kinds of extra diagnoses. F this I said. Let me try subboxine? Sorry, you can't afford it or can't get it here in Sacramento. I borrowed so much money n scraped for a doctor, got on it, and was hoping I was cured. Nope. Someone told me about KRATOM one day while I was in withdrawal and finally took some red Borneo. 15 minutes after ingestion I was in awe and amazement how I felt "normal". That was May of 2017. Since that day I take KRATOM religiously and haven't touched either opoid or benzo again! I've never been happier, healthier, have stable work life home life and I makes more beyond sad and horrified how FDA wants to ban the only option we have to save our life's without letting government and big pharmacy control our lives with their poison. I'm scared that if they ban I will have to return to old habid and so many others will suffer without this great pain reliever...and all the FDA fake news about deaths and salmonella is BS. Why is it that FDA approved us to eat MCdonalds, yet the sign in the drive through window states" we serve food made with known carginogens"

                  I hope people really take a stand and I hope sharing this story helps in some way for someone else. If I can do anything else feel free to contact me.

                  Good Luck to you all!!!! I


                  • #11
                    Thank you Mr. Bell for sharing. You inspired me to tell my story I'm a recovered heroin addict and I am a student in and Broadcasting so I started reaching out two people who are heroin addicts and the response was amazing so now I really want to help save lives I didn't have anything and was living out of my car and had no one to talk to and I ran out of gas I was on a gravel road I got on my knees in the rocks and begged for God if there was one to kill me that moment changed me forever after you telling your story it inspired me to share my because I was embarrassed of my addiction and didn't think people would take me seriously but I can't hide my truth I have nothing to be ashamed of hopefully it will help save lives


                    • Barbmc711
                      Barbmc711 commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Which strain and brand are you using. My son is wanting to get off Herion. I heard there are some brands that are not pure.

                  • #12
                    Thank you Chris Bell so much for taking the bull by the horns and bringing to light Kratom. Its truly a leaf of faith.. .I never thought that we as United Americans we would have to fight for this beautiful tea leaf. As an addict myself, I have been so blessed to have found Kratom and no longer a slave to pharma. As a child to mom that has had 4 strokes, pharma keeps pushing opiates on her... I have showed her your story and she watched leaf of faith with me and now is decreasing her pain medicine and going to attempt to come off the opiates slowly.. I can honestly say I owe it to Leaf of Faith and her relating to seeing someone else having a stroke to get there. But I truly owe it to you Leaf of Faith, and its shining light in the Kratom industry. Kratom has saved my life, and truly want more to help others and save theirs with Kratom. I just wish that the FDA and DEA would let us have our own freedom to drink our own tea that was put here for us...


                    • #13
                      All these wonderful and compelling stories!!!


                      • #14
                        Amazing Stories it's crazy how much kratom has done for so many people


                        • #15
                          I was wondering which strain of Kratom would be best for my son who is trying to get off herion. Also which brands are legit


                          • MisheruCho
                            MisheruCho commented
                            Editing a comment
                            Personally I would go with Urban Ice Organics or Indoleaf because they are compliant. According the those I’ve seen get off of heroin, red vein and white is best. LEAFOFFAITH for 20% all products for both sites.
                            Last edited by MisheruCho; 06-28-2018, 07:29 PM.