TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Advocates of the plant-based drug Kratom are fighting to keep the drug on store shelves across the country.
The American Kratom Association just sent a petition with more than 26,000 signatures to the White House in hopes of stopping the war on Kratom.
This comes after the Drug Enforcement Agency put out a call to the public to ask what they thought of the drug. They had originally planned to ban it from stores in September 2016.
That comment period has ended.
According to a news release from AKA, 99 percent of the comments opposed the ban.
Right now, Kratom can be purchased legally in Arizona.
The AKA says it wants to keep it that way.
In the petition sent to President Donald Trump, advocates argue veterans and seniors are big supporters of the drug, because it helps them with pain.
But doctors say some people are using it irresponsibly.
Dr. Eric Cornidez at the Pain Institute of Southern Arizona said Kratom is not something they prescribe to patients.
He said it was popular about four years ago, but he doesn't see it as much anymore.
"My experiences so far have been people trying to abuse the medication to get the high of the compound itself, as opposed to having it for pain relief," he said.
Still, Cornidez said he is open to having conversations about Kratom with his patients.
"In the right setting, with the appropriate person, with the right place this could be a good thing," he said. "But the problem is, if there is no regulation or system in place to make sure people are correctly using this medication, then it can easy fall into the wrong hands."
Although the DEA withdrew its ban, it is possible it could try to ban it again.
To read more about the petition, click HERE: http://bit.ly/2lh2o8U
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