Politics

Does Kratom really kill? Officials aren’t telling us the whole story.

Scientists say there’s scant evidence that mitragynine causes fatal overdoses, and many kratom advocates claim that overdosing on the substance alone is impossible. Although authorities have come forward with reports of deaths supposedly related to kratom, all of the cases they’ve cited publicly have involved the presence of other, often more dangerous drugs, making it nearly impossible to discern kratom’s role in the fatalities.

But when HuffPost examined GBI’s [Georgia Bureau of Investigation) data, it became clear that the agency is relying on a loose interpretation of what it means for a death to be “related” to kratom. In fact, it appears to be counting every fatal drug overdose in which mitragynine is present as a so-called kratom-related death. Of the 15 cases GBI has documented, only four individuals tested positive for mitragynine alone. Grove was among them, though HuffPost has learned additional details which show that even in cases like his, mitragynine may not be the most probable killer. Every other supposed kratom-related death in Georgia also involved additional substances, often including much stronger drugs like heroin, prescription drugs or other potent opioid analogs like fentanyl ― sometimes taken together. In two of the cases GBI considers kratom-related deaths, the subjects tested positive for eight different substances, including opioids, antidepressants and other powerful prescription drugs. Due to the nature of GBI’s data collection methods, it considers these deaths to be kratom-related. This system, which indiscriminately lumps cases into the same category despite glaring dissimilarities, says nothing about how ― or even if ― GBI determined mitragynine had actually contributed to each death. … [Similarly obfuscating…] The FDA has not revealed any further information about the 36 cases [FDA Commissioner] Gottlieb cited. It denied HuffPost’s request to immediately release the data, and has responded to other reporters’ requests by saying they couldn’t locate it. An FDA database that compiles reports of adverse drug interactions shows records of 42 kratom-related deaths since 2011. But all of the incidents on that list also involved the presence of other substances. Some of them took place abroad, and were related to a controversial adulterated kratom product that contains the opioid painkiller tramadol.

Original Article (HuffPost):
Does Kratom really kill? Officials aren’t telling us the whole story.
Artwork Fair Use: Drugslab

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