LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – A Lafayette Parish mother is pushing for new laws after her 26-year-old son overdosed on a product he thought would help with his insomnia and anxiety.

But as we do more research we’re learning more about just how much, and how little the experts know about Kratom.

Daniel Vidrine, a 26-year-old Air Force veteran died in February of this year.

His cause of death— Acute Mitragynine Toxicity— also known as a Kratom overdose.

“My son Daniel had issues related to insomnia, depression, and anxiety. This is what the reason is he said that he was taking Kratom” Melissa Vidrine’s told us in the wake of her son’s death.

‘What is Kratom’ you might ask. It’s a plant that grows in Southeast Asia.

According to the American Kratom Association, “it can be used to manage pain, or as an alternative to coffee to help with mood and focus.”

In other words, Kratom in small doses works as an upper, larger doses as a downer.

The FDA reports there have been no scientific studies to show Kratom relieves opioid withdrawals, diabetes, anxiety or depression as it was once marketed.

“When we noticed there was a behavioral change with Daniel we did a little bit of research, but we did the regular searches for Kratom and he would always say mom, it’s okay they sell it at a store it can’t be bad for you” Melissa said.

The product Daniel was using comes with very little information. There’s a warning that Mitragyna Speciosa is an unapproved dietary ingredient, a disclaimer stating the user accepts full responsibility for any adverse events or health complications, and a short list of ingredients.

“The real danger with not just Kratom but other illicit substances of this type is that we frequently see them adulterated with other substances.”

Dr. Mark Ryan, the Executive Director of the Louisiana Poison Control Center says in the more active years of 2011-2015 where people called the poison control center about Kratom, they were only getting about 4 or 5 calls a year related to it.

Dr. Ryan says, “Kratom’s out there it does cause some problems, but they haven’t been large in numbers or widespread. We think that’s why we haven’t seen on a national level a movement made to control it.”

And that’s why Melissa is contacting her legislators, and anyone who will listen to her pleas to remove these types of kratom products from store shelves.

“I don’t want anybody else to experience the loss of a loved one like we did with our son Daniel.”

In 2019, the CDC reported 91 people died of Kratom overdoses from July ’16 – December ’17. In that same timeframe, 152 overdose deaths had Kratom in their system.To learn more about Kratom, it’s risks and recommendations, check out the links attached to this story on our website.

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