Kratom Scare Stories Abound Amidst Wrongful Death Suit
Just like clockwork, yet another round of bad press for kratom. Even though publications like Forbes and Scientific American have featured articles focusing on what actual scientists say about the Southeast Asian plant-based medicinal leaf, Washington Post, USA Today and others have joined the chorus of anti-kratom disinformation. Most recently, a string of stories about the supposed rise in the number of calls to the Poison Control Center related to kratom have been shared but another salmonella scare has also blighted the good name of the herb, a botanical cousin to the coffee plant, which so many have credited as improving their quality of life.
In many of the stories regarding the supposed spike in Poison Control Center calls, the mention of "deaths related to kratom" is alluded to. As we have reported several times, scientists, pharmacological researchers, forensic toxicologists, coroners and other medical professionals have repeatedly debunked the dubious claims of kratom's potential lethality. The former head of pharmacology for the National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the New England Journal of Medicine is surely a more reliable source of information about health safety than USA Today, but coming hot on the heels of this spate of misinformed reportage, a tragic death of a young man in Pennsylvania.
In the past, we've seen several cases of deaths attributed to kratom. In one case, the decedent was found with cocaine, fentanyl and prescription nerve pills in his system, but for whatever reasons the medical examiner decided to overlook this and blame it on kratom. In the case of Caleb Sturgis, a death resulting from a car crash has been called an overdose of mitragynine (one of the active compounds in kratom). The specific cause was determined to be mitragynine toxicity with hypertensive cardiovascular disease as a contributing condition. In the initial report from Philly.com, kratom is not mentioned, but a cause of death is listed as pending due to possibility of a "medical emergency" (later clarified as a massive heart attack) that could have caused him to lose control of his car.
The Sturgis family has now brought forth a lawsuit blaming SoCal Herbal Remedies for failing to provide information on the risks of using kratom and further claiming that the product Caleb purchased was untested. As with most professional kratom vendors, So-Cal does batch testing on all their kratom, as reported by reviewers at Kratomaton and according to the site itself. As for warnings, there is nothing in the research or medical literature to suggest kratom would have a negative effect on someone's heart.
In addition to that, Caleb was an active member of the So-Cal Herbal Remedies Facebook group. Sadly, as a kratom advocate himself, he would likely not be happy with how his name and memory are being used here.
It also seems possible he was using extracts in addition to plain leaf material seeing as, according to documents shared at a press conference, Caleb had 2700 ng/ml mitragynine in his blood. He only bought plain leaf kratom from So-Cal though and according to molecular biologist, Dr. Jane Babin, he would have had to have taken over 100 grams at once to reach that level. Even taking large amounts of extract, however, shouldn't have had any effect on his heart.
@DawnANjax Please take a look at the 8-factor analysis on kratom. It was done by Dr. Henningfield, PhD and addictions specialist. He worked for both NIH and NIDA. The conclusion is on pg 65 https://t.co/o34xe6pb0h
I can completely understand the family's feelings. A bright son, opening a new chapter in his life, dies before his prime. The first thing you want to do in your grieving is finding some way to understand what happened, what went wrong. It's natural to want to pin blame on someone or something. Thanks to this coroner's erroneous work they have both now.