Editor's Note: The Huffington Post investigated deaths in Georgia that have been linked to kratom use and found that 11 of the 15 deaths documented by Georgia Bureau of Investigation (GBI) also involved additional substances, often including much stronger drugs like heroin, prescription drugs or other potent opioid analogs like fentanyl. In two of the cases, GBI considers kratom-related deaths, the subjects tested positive for eight different prescription drugs. 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, according to the article. 

Huffington Post
December 1, 2017

Authorities claim the popular herbal drug poses potentially deadly risks, but there are big problems with their evidence.

HuffPost took a closer look at ... "kratom-related deaths" in Georgia. We found that not only is the state using sloppy reporting on these deaths, likely overestimating the apparent harms of kratom, but the state also appears to be rushing to blame mitragynine for the deaths ... even when there may be more likely culprits. ...

[W]hen HuffPost examined GBI's 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. [ John ] 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.

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