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Posted October 4, 2017

Police Officer Dies From Kratom Overdose, Herb Currently Legal in Most States

A police officer who worked in narcotics in Tupper Lake, New York, died this summer of an overdose of the herb kratom, according to a report from ABC News. Police sergeant Matt Dana, 27, suffered from a buildup of blood and fluid of the lungs, according to the Franklin County Coroner, who also found he had a high level of kratom in his system.

Kratom (Mitragyna speciosa) is a tree native to Southeast Asia. Supplements containing kratom typically contain powdered leaves or extract sold in powder, capsules or liquid, and are promoted for pain relief or energy.

The active compounds in kratom are opioids which can have effects similar to morphine and heroin. Consumption of kratom has been associated with agitation, irritability, tachycardia, nausea, drowsiness, and hypertension. Health risks found in kratom abusers include hepatotoxicity, psychosis, seizure, weight loss, insomnia, tachycardia, vomiting, poor concentration, hallucinations, and death. There have been at least 15 kratom-related deaths between 2014 and 2016.

In August 2016, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) announced its intent to classify the active compounds (mitragynine and 7-hydroxymitragynine) in kratom as Schedule I controlled substances. However, the agency withdrew its proposal several months later after receiving "numerous comments from members of the public challenging the scheduling action." The agency has taken the public comments into consideration, and will now receive a scientific and medical evaluation and scheduling recommendation from the FDA before making a final decision on classification of the herb. However, six states, Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Tennessee and Vermont and Wisconsin, have now classified kratom as a Schedule I substance. In the state of New York, legislation to ban kratom is pending.

To read the full ABC News article, use the link below.