Rep. Jared Polis, D-Colo., is calling for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to lift its public health warning on kratom, a natural alternative to opioids. Polis’s call comes as the Centers for Disease Control announced that the U.S. life expectancy fell for the second year in a row, citing the opioid epidemic as a significant contributing factor.
Polis led a bipartisan letter with Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., to Commissioner Gottlieb which read, in part: “The beneficial potential, safety, and efficacy of kratom has been discussed, studied, clinically researched, and found to be as safe as coffee. In fact, there have been several studies funded by the National Institutes of Health, some of which are still ongoing. We have heard from many constituents who have used kratom to successfully end their dependence on dangerous opioids, and maintaining legal access to kratom is important for many Americans to maintain sobriety.”
15 other members of Congress signed on to Polis’s letter.
“The opioid epidemic is coming to a head in the U.S. with life expectancy dropping because of it. Along with improving access to mental health services, drug abuse treatment, and prevention programs, we need to improve access to alternative pain relief options beyond addictive opioids. For some, kratom, a cousin of the coffee plant, can be that alternative. Like cannabis, it should be legal and available,” said Polis. “The FDA must end its bogus ‘public health warning’ that has already led to several cities banning kratom. Patients need and deserve options.”
Download the official letter here.
Earlier this month, Polis also sent a letter to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) requesting that they acknowledge medical marijuana as an effective and safer alternative for some pain management issues than opioids.