FDA Likens Kratom to Opioids Due to Possible Wrongful Deaths

Chances are if you haven’t been to cannabis festival, a New Age herbal conference, or peruse the latest herbal remedies from around the globe, you probably haven’t heard of Kratom. However, it’s important to be aware that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is ramping up its case against this herb, whose scientific names is mitragyna speciose. The herb is derived from a tropical evergreen tree indigenous to Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Papua New Guinea, and Thailand, where it has been used as medicine for more than century or more. Kratom is sold in the U.S. as an unregulated herbal supplement, and it is commonly taken as a mood enhancer because of its stimulant and sedative-like qualities.

However, there’s a huge drawback to this naturally occurring herb – it has opioid and stimulant-like properties, and is being widely consumed by those who have opioid addiction problems. In its latest warning, the FDA says Kratom incidences have “underscore(d) the serious and sometimes deadly risks” associated with addictive drugs.

“The FDA is concerned about harmful unapproved products that have been crossing our borders in increasing numbers. The agency has a public health obligation to act when we see people being harmed by unapproved products passed off as treatments and cures for serious conditions,” wrote FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb in a statement dated Nov. 14, 2017, adding: “As the scientific data and adverse event reports have clearly revealed, compounds in Kratom make it so it isn’t just a plant — it’s an opioid.”

Data Exposing the Harm of Kratom

The data released by the FDA is by no means concrete evidence that the herb Kratom itself is deadly, but enough cases have come forward to warrant a general health warning to U.S. consumers. The follow are some of the incidences and risks associated with Kratom, according to the FDA:

  • The FDA has received several troubling reports, including one about a teenager who hung himself as well as another case involving a drug overdose victim – both had traces of Kratom in their system.
  • The FDA currently has more than 44 cases of deaths related to the use of Kratom.
  • The FDA Commissioner also claims the agency has conducted scientific analysis of Kratom, which concludes that the substance has characteristics of an opioid.
  • Supporters say it is a safer alternative to using traditional opioids for treating anxiety, depression, and pain.
  • The FDA is troubled by reports that people use Kratom specifically to treat opioid addiction and withdrawal symptoms.
  • The FDA points to the fact that Kratom is not scientifically proven to treat opioid use disorder.
  • Since Kratom has no regulated measurement or dosage instructions, nor any formal listing of side-effects or potential dangers associated with taking the herb, there’s no way for physician to properly prescribe it to patients.
  • Until there is further government review of Kratom for its therapeutic use, the FDA says it will continue to impound shipments from foreign countries to prevent it from entering the U.S.

Can You Sue for Unsafe Dietary Supplements?

The short answer is – yes. A lot of times companies will market their dietary supplement as having medicinal properties and that is a clear violation of U.S. regulations and FDA guidelines. These illegal products are sold directly over the Internet, at herbal shops, and other outlets. A recent study indicates that dietary supplements are associated with 18 percent of all liver injuries reported in the U.S.

Contact an Experienced New Jersey Personal Injury Attorney at Greenberg & Walden, LLC

If you or a loved one has suffered injury or wrongful death from a dietary supplement or herb, you can seek relief and justice from a knowledgeable and experienced New Jersey Personal Injury Attorney at Greenberg & Walden, LLC.

At Greenberg & Walden, LLC our lawyers champion the cause of the people, providing victims of negligent parties with legal advocacy and litigation to help them recover financially – in the form of a settlement or a court-ordered award. To speak with one of our New Jersey personal injury attorneys or to schedule a free, initial consultation with one of them, call us at (201) 528-6928 or email us using the contact form on this page.

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