By: Phil | 09-13-2017 | News
Photo credit: Yanawut Suntornkij | Dreamstime

Could Tragic Death Attributed to Kratom Have Other Causes?

Tragedy struck the village of Tupper Lake, New York last month when Tupper Lake police Sgt. Matthew Dana was found dead. After a month long investigation by Franklin County Coroner Shawn Stuart the death was ruled an accidental overdose. Stuart's tests were publicly released today based on a toxicology report and have been corroborated by medical examiner Dr. C. Francis Varga. Several members of the kratom community however are not so sure that an overdose of mitragynine (as suggested by the coroner's report) would result in a pulmonary edema.

Kratom is a South East Asian plant that has been used for hundreds of years as a folk medicine. Related to the coffee plant it is known as a pain reliever, antioxidant and immunostimulant and scores of research journals contain dozens of clinical studies and reviews of potential uses for kratom as wide-spread as treating chronic pain, addiction, treatment resistant depression, PTSD and even tumors or cancer.

<a href="">The formal cause of death was a pulmonary edema</a> (blood in the lungs) that is being claimed to have resulted from an overdose of mitragynine. Mitragynine and 7-hydroxy-mitragynine are the two primary active constituents in kratom. <a href="">Studies of lab rodents and other animals have shown</a> that respiratory depression death from any amount of kratom's active contents is unlikely which is why it has been explored as a possible alternative to dangerous and addictive opiates and opioids.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">BREAKING: Coroner says kratom overdose killed Tupper Lake police Sgt. Matt Dana <a href=""></a> <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Adk Daily Enterprise (@AdkEnterprise) <a href="">September 12, 2017</a></blockquote>

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<a href="">Some Reddit users have formed opinions</a> about an alternative possible cause of death, however. Many kratom users choose a method colloquially termed "the toss and wash." With a toss and wash you take your spoonful (or spoonfuls) of kratom and wash it back with water. Due to the hydrophobic nature of kratom however it has a tendency to get stuck in the soft palate of the mouth and esophagus. Toss and wash nightmare stories ending in serious coughing fits or regurgitation are rare but have been reported. If you recall the "cinnamon challenge" several kids who tried to swallow ridiculous amounts of cinnamon ended up <a href="">dying of pulmonary edema</a> in the same manner as Sgt. Dana.

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">Check out this infographic on the relative safety of Kratom and energy drinks: <a href=""></a></p>&mdash; Phytoextractum (@phytoextractum) <a href="">June 14, 2017</a></blockquote>

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<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-lang="en"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">FACT: <a href="">#Kratom</a> is not a problem: It&#39;s time for unscientific attacks to stop. <a href=""></a> See infographic: <a href=""></a></p>In 2015 a high school student in Michigan spent four days in the hospital after attempting the cinnamon challenge due to pneumonia, inflammation and scarring of the lungs. Collapsed lungs, asphyxiation and pulmonary edema had also been reported among those who attempted to down too much fine powder. &mdash; Paul Kemp (@healthseeker) <a href="">April 1, 2017</a></blockquote>

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As is, no human or laboratory animal deaths have been shown to be directly attributable to kratom alone. In at least one case however, kratom adulterated with research chemicals or other substances has been reported.

In 2015 a high school student in Michigan spent four days in the hospital after attempting the cinnamon challenge due to pneumonia, inflammation and scarring of the lungs. Collapsed lungs, asphyxiation and pulmonary edema had also been reported among those who attempted to down too much fine powder.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Sgt. Dana and hopefully the full details about what led to Sgt. Dana's unfortunate passing can be fully understood soon. It's a sad story regardless how you slice it, but it would be a double tragedy if an unfortunate death due to inhalation of plant powder (akin to the cinnamon challenge deaths) led to the people who really need kratom no longer having access.

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Thoughts on the above story? Comment below!
6 Comment/s
Anonymous No. 8006 2017-09-13 : 01:15

Share the Kratom. Here in Ohio we have none.

Judie T Plumley No. 8103 2017-09-14 : 14:08

Kratom is a very serious issue for me. Without it my quality of life would be reduced to spending my life in bed. I am not a candidate for surgery or pain implants because of a previous MRSA infection, and opiates are not an option for anyone.

There are thousands more like me. This isn't for fun or recreation, or kicks. I have been using kratom for over 2 years. I haven't increased my dosage, I don't toss and wash, and I am responsible.

Articles like this one scare me because they could help the DOJ make this wonderful herb illegal. That would destroy my quality of life.

Anonymous No. 8106 2017-09-14 : 15:57

I tried kratom twice and didnt like the flavor so i just gave the rest of my stash away.

Jillian No. 8170 2017-09-16 : 03:14

Great article. Great questions. Well done. Thanks for addressing this and doing it in a respectful manner.

Ryan M. No. 8215 2017-09-17 : 07:29

Thank you for being one of the few left in this world with common sense and an open mind. While you may or may not know much about kratom, you didn't demonize it like many others seem to like to do without fact-checking past page 1 of Google (those types also like to believe propaganda from websites that aren't credible instead of real studies).

Major props on this article, thank you for writing it.

As for the person saying there's no kratom in Ohio - there is, in a few places, especially around Columbus - just check Google. Smoke shops may carry some strains, but they give kratom a bad name by how they sell it and occasionally they slip in research chemicals - so it's best to not give them your business so they'll hopefully stop selling it. Quality at smoke shops is typically extremely bad as well.

john gallagher No. 8491 2017-09-22 : 15:04

I've been taking kratom for about four years now always the toss n wash method, I would like to say that you have to be careful doing it this way as I have choked a few times, so you have to be careful because as I say it can be dangerous.

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