When the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not approve a drug or other substance for human consumption, it is likely for a good reason. Still, some people use non-approved substances because they like the effects. Sometimes these plants can help with mental or physical issues, helping a person to feel better.
This is how a Florida woman felt about kratom, a substance that comes from a tropical evergreen tree in Asia. Many people use kratom to self-treat pain, anxiety, and depression. It is also used to boost energy and focus. However, the drug is unregulated and can cause toxicity, which is what killed the 39-year-old mother of four.
The woman collapsed at home on Father’s Day in 2021 after taking kratom. Her unconscious body was found on the floor, next to a package of kratom and a cup of coffee. Her 14-month-old child played on the floor next to her, unaware of what had just happened. The woman was taken to a local hospital, where she later died.
The woman’s cause of death was acute mitragynine intoxication. Mitragyna speciosa is the plant used to make kratom. Her ex-husband filed a wrongful death lawsuit against Grow, LLC, and the owner and operator of The Kratom Distro, which manufactured the kratom responsible for the woman’s death. He originally sought $20 million in damages — $5 million for each of her children. However, to adhere to similar cases, the judge came up with an $11.6 million award. The woman’s estate will receive $4.6 million, while another $7 million will go to the four children.
The woman’s oldest son had just graduated from high school the day before his mom died. He will receive $1 million. He stated that his mom’s death had derailed his college plans. The three other children will receive $2 million each. The two middle children are in therapy as they grieve their mother’s death. The woman’s ex-husband stated that the woman provided a “loving touch” that his children no longer have. In court, many family members shared their stories about the woman, who was considered to be the nucleus of the family. Many people are still grieving her death two years later.
Other lawsuits against kratom distributors have also been successful, resulting in multi-million-dollar payouts. Florida law was recently updated to outlaw the sale of kratom to anyone under the age of 21.
Dangers of Kratom
Kratom is a plant native to Southeast Asia. It is a tree from the coffee family, with the leaves containing a chemical called mitragynine, which acts similarly to morphine. It can be crushed into a powder, taken in pill form, or drunk as tea. In small doses, kratom can produce stimulant effects. At higher doses, it acts as an opioid. It has been used as herbal medicine for hundreds of years.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) states that kratom is often used to self-treat conditions such as pain, coughing, diarrhea, anxiety, and depression. It is also helpful for opioid use disorder and opioid withdrawal, with people reportedly using kratom to manage drug withdrawal symptoms and cravings. The FDA has not approved any use of kratom. In fact, the FDA took action against kratom in November 2017 and issued a public health advisory.
Kratom is not regulated. Therefore, the National Institute on Drug Abuse says that kratom products could contain contaminants, including harmful bacteria and heavy metals. Kratom consumption can lead to addiction. Several cases of psychosis resulting from the use of kratom have been reported, where those addicted to kratom have experienced hallucinations, delusion, and confusion. In general, kratom use can have various effects on the body, such as nausea, itching, sweating, constipation, increased urination, tachycardia, vomiting, drowsiness, dry mouth, and loss of appetite. Users of kratom have also experienced anorexia, weight loss, insomnia, seizures, and hallucinations.
Kratom is not controlled under the Controlled Substances Act. However, the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) has listed kratom as a drug and chemical of concern. While highly addictive, kratom is legal, with many teens and college students using it to help with anxiety. Kratom contains many substances, and dealing with addiction can be hard.
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Kratom offers many benefits for those struggling with pain, anxiety, and depression, but it also comes with serious side effects that can lead to seizures, liver damage, and even death.
Kratom and other substances are not FDA-approved, so users can suffer severe harm from these unregulated products. If you or a loved one has been a victim, contact Brill & Rinaldi, The Law Firm, today. We will help you seek damages for a person’s negligence. Schedule a free consultation with our office today by filling out the online form or calling (954) 876-4344. We have offices in Weston, Coral Gables, and Daytona Beach.