A man in Thailand breaks up a kratom leaf to make a popular cheap narcotic drink. (Paula Bronstein/Getty Images)

Regarding the Feb. 11 front-page article “Natural pain remedy or addictive killer?”:

We all know the government’s war on drugs has been a complete failure. For example, while marijuana has obvious medical benefits, it remains listed as a Schedule 1 drug (defined to mean it has no medicinal value and the potential for abuse). Those of us who rely on the herbal supplement kratom, a member of the coffee family, know that it relieves pain, is no more addicting than coffee, causes no “high” and has virtually no side effects. Additionally, it has been shown effective in weaning people off opioids while not causing respiratory depression.

Recently, the Food and Drug Administration ineptly issued misleading information about kratom, providing specious support to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s push to list it as a Schedule 1 drug. With the opioid crisis claiming hundreds of lives each week, why would the government list this promising plant as a Schedule 1, making research and testing nearly impossible? Whom is the FDA trying to protect — the public or Big Pharma, which loses profits when citizens find a safe, natural, inexpensive alternative to addictive opioids?

Carol Grogan, Woodbridge