First U.S. kratom-related death reported in Florida, should an independent autopsy be performed?

Kratom has been around for thousands of years and has been a helpful plant for pain and an overall state of well-being. It has also been helpful to those seeking to rid

The kratom plant

themselves of their opioid addiction. This week, the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner determined that 27-year-old Christopher Waldron died from “intoxication by Mitragynine (Kratom).” This would be the first in the nation as kratom has never been the direct cause of one’s death until this report. There have been many times where kratom was found in one’s system at the time of their death; however, the cause of those deaths was from other substances.


Kratom is from the coffee tree family and has been consumed in many forms over thousands of years. From crushing dried kratom leaves to concocting a liquid concentrated extract, to drinking a powdered form in a tea, there are dozens of ways people around the world ingest kratom.

It is worthy to note that death via arrhythmia caused by caffeine found in coffee, tea, energy drinks and elsewhere is quite common in the United States. So any hysteria about kratom should be placed in check before it gets out of hand and before politicians get their legislative pens inked. Most Americans are dying every day because they eat too much of the foods and drinks that are bad for them, yet we don’t see legislators rushing to ban the sale of french fries or limit the amount of alcohol we consume each day.

This unusual finding from the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s office has naturally led many to think a second and independent autopsy should be performed. It is a common practice when unusual findings are concluded by government medical examiners. The most notable and local was multi-millionaire Bill Mays’ death; the Hillsborough County Medical Examiner’s report was challenged and found to be incorrect.

Another conclusion could be that Waldron ingested some tainted kratom that included ingredients other than kratom. It has been reported Waldron’s mother found two empty packets of kratom in pill form from controversial company Optimized Plant Mediated Solutions (OPMS). This company’s products have many on the Internet complaining that someone needs to get their products to a lab as they suspect they contain more than just kratom. As well, on their website, the company complains of unscrupulous retailers and wholesalers who are selling fake OPMS products.

Regardless, the Waldron family deserves the benefit of a second independent autopsy, as does the kratom industry. The public needs to know if this is simply a freak accident with kratom, whether the medical examiner got it wrong, and/or if something more serious with kratom needs to be investigated. Based on the millions of servings of kratom over thousands of years, it is unlikely Waldron’s death was a direct result of ingesting pure kratom, but the public needs to know and one report from one examiner’s office is not sufficient.