Nine health professionals, including one from University of Rochester Medical Center, have signed a letter to the White House urging the federal government to look deeper into the benefits of the herbal supplement kratom.
Advocates of a herbal supplement are pushing back against the Food and Drug Administration.
Earlier this month, the FDA classified kratom, promoted as an alternative pain remedy, as an opioid because of scientific evidence of its opium properties.
Supporters of kratom, however, argue it's actually a tool to fight against the opioid epidemic.
Kratom is sold all over the country, online, and locally at the Kratom Shop on Monroe Avenue in Rochester.
Nine health professionals, including one from University of Rochester Medical Center, have signed a letter to the White House urging the federal government to look deeper into the benefits of kratom.
In the rebuttal letter, health professionals warn that a kratom ban will only add fuel to the fire. Advocates say this puts more Americans at risk for opioid addiction and possible overdose deaths.
Rob Brockler, owner of the Kratom Shop in Rochester, says he has personally witnessed the healing properties of this natural substance.
"Kratom is the tool to fight the opioid epidemic," Brockler said. "We have it in our hands. As long as consumers are consuming raw, unaltered plant matter that's unprocessed, clean, free of mold, free of heavy metals, kratom can get people back to work and on their feet."
The FDA claims they have dozens of documented cases where Kratom mixed with other substances has led to death.
Supporters say kratom itself has never caused a death and they will continue to fight to keep the herbal supplement legal.
The Drug Enforcement Administration temporarily listed kratom as a Schedule 1 controlled substance last August, but withdrew the decision after an outcry and a targeted petition effort.