Americans know the dangers of drugs such as morphine and heroin. But what about a supplement that acts in the brain a bit like an opiate and is available in many places to kids — even from vending machines.

Kratom, an herb that's abundant, legal in most states and potentially dangerous, is the subject of an ongoing debate over its risks and benefits.

The Federal Drug Administration (FDA) issued a public health advisory this week regarding the use of Kratom - an herb that some people use to treat pain, stress, anxiety, and even opioid withdrawal.

Kratom Gets Reprieve From Drug Enforcement Administration

Oct 12, 2016

It's been a wild ride for kratom lately.

After listening to tearful testimony from people for and against, a House committee voted Wednesday to ban Kratom (CRAY-tum) in Florida.

Drug Enforcement Administration

A bill that would put kratom on Florida’s list of Schedule I substances passed the Senate Committee on Criminal Justice by just one vote on Tuesday, the Palm Beach Post reports.Kratom is an herbal drug, comprised of the leaf of a tree that grows in Southeast Asia. It can produce opium-like effects. According to the Post, the bill would make it a first-degree misdemeanor to possess the substance.   

Last year, debates over legalizing marijuana dominated Florida’s legislative session. But during the Legislative session 2015, a different substance could be taking center stage as a freshman state representative from Broward County takes on the feel-good herb called kratom.

“Red Dye No. 4,” which is made from crushed insects, is commonly found in yogurt, ice cream and other popular products. That discovery has spurred a petition drive by consumer groups to get it taken out or at least relabeled, as the Palm Beach Post reports.