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Keywords:

  • forensic science;
  • mitragynine;
  • Kratom;
  • forensic toxicology;
  • drug fatality;
  • Mitragyna speciosa

Abstract

A 17-year-old white man who showed no obvious signs of trauma was found unresponsive in bed and was pronounced dead at the scene. The decedent had a documented history of heroin abuse and chronic back pain and reportedly self-medicated with Kratom (mitragynine). The autopsy was remarkable only for pulmonary congestion and edema and a distended bladder, both of which are consistent with, though not diagnostic of, opiate use. A laboratory work-up revealed therapeutic levels of over-the-counter cold medications and benzodiazepines. However, of interest was a level of mitragynine at 0.60 mg/L. Given the facts of the case, the Medical Examiner certified the cause of death as “possible Kratom toxicity” and the manner of death was classified as “accident.”