Kratom Unknowns Cause Concern In The Tampa Bay Area


Kratom is considered a herbal supplement and it is without a doubt making waves. This is especially true in the Tampa Bay area where the herbal supplement is a popular sale item in local head shops and gas stations. Advocates in the area are fighting for the substance saying that it has the ability to help recovering opioid addicts, while federal officials are scrambling to sound the alarms stating that the substance is claiming more and more lives. In fact, a recent study published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that Kratom cause 91 death cases between the years of 2016 and 2017.

Kratom’s Positive Safety Profile by Florida Department of Law Enforcement

A Wild West Out There

Of the 91 one individuals that died, it was probably Christopher Waldron of Tampa that made the biggest impact. A member from the I-Team spoke to Waldron’s mother and it invoked quite an emotional response. She was demanding more laws and regulations to be instituted around the substance. She plainly said to the investigator that it feels like the wild west out there. No one knows what they are taking nowadays. Christopher was her only child and previously battled an opioid addiction. His mother said that he simply laid down to watch television and expired. On his official death certificate, the cause of death is listed as intoxication by Mitragynine. However, it should also be noted that Christopher also has an anti-depressant and muscle relaxer in his system. These two were not listed on the death certificate. Chris’ mother is now strongly pushing for stricter regulations on Kratom and better labeling.

Understanding Kratom

Most people have heard of Kratom, but they don’t really understand what the substance is. The plant grows naturally throughout Southeast Asia area and there is a long history of the substance there. The locals would chew on the leaves or use them to make tea. The CDC has stated time and time again that Kratom can produce stimulant effects in low doses. In higher doses, it can produce opioid-like effects. Chris’ mother, Lamon, says that she first found out about Chris use of Kratom several months ago. He was using the substance to wean himself off opioids. Lamon says that she doesn’t blame the substance itself, but rather the lack of the regulation of the substance. It was the lack of regulation that led to her son’s death. She doesn’t know if there was a safer way for her son to use the substance, but she has to imagine that it would have been safer with more stringent regulations.

Kratom Saves Lives?

Despite what took place here, there are a number of individuals out there that claim Kratom can save lives. One such individual is Chris Garrett. Garrett met with ABC Action News and he went on to tell about his story. Garrett is now the proud owner of his very own kratom shop called The Kratom Place. The Kratom Place is located in the Taron Springs area and is now open to the local public. He keeps a bicycle mounted to the wall of the store to remind him of where his passion for Kratom came from. Chris was hit by a car when he was riding his bike late last June. He got knocked on the hood of the car and flew horizontally in the air where he landed on the ground directly on his left arm and leg.

He was rushed into immediate surgery and sent home three days later without enough painkillers to last. Of course, the pain didn’t stop and this is where Kratom came in. It got to the point where Chris was hurting so bad that he was opting to go out and score heroin. This was about the time that he came to his wits end and hit the Internet, where he later discovered Kratom and fell head over heels in love.

Banned In One County

Sarasota County is the only place to ban Kratom in Florida. This was something that took place back in 2014, but it didn’t stop Lamon from filing a lawsuit against the gas station that sold Kratom to her son. This is one of the first kind of lawsuits against Kratom and it certainly is going to be interesting to see how things are going to play out for the substance in the near future.


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