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Kratom Misinformation and the Tampa Bay Times Claims

Faisal January 23, 2024 0 comments

There is a lot of misinformation about kratom, particularly when it comes to the risks and dangers of the beneficial plant. Unfortunately, sometimes the misinformation or negative narrative gets much more attention than the helpful advantages for millions of kratom users.

One such instance is the Tampa Bay Times releasing a recent article claiming that kratom led to hundreds of deaths. However, that article doesn’t paint the whole picture and intentionally or non-intentionally presents an unfair image of kratom.

Keep reading to learn more about those claims, where they were accurate, where they were misinformed, and much more for an objective look at the plant, including the response from the American Kratom Association.

What Did the Tampa Bay Times Say About Kratom?

In the Tampa Bay Times article “Deadly Dose” and corresponding blog “How the Tampa Bay Times investigated the kratom industry” they falsely claim that hundreds of people in Florida have died using kratom.

The reporters behind the article apparently, “analyzed thousands of pages of autopsy and toxicology reports, police documents, and company records” and “interviewed over 150 scientists, doctors, policy experts, regulators, industry players, consumers and relatives of overdose victims.”

You’d think after all that work, they wouldn’t downplay the contribution of underlying health problems and, most importantly, the fact that the overwhelming majority of deaths had at least one other substance in their system.

In fact, the Tampa Bay Times themselves say that 9 in 10 of the people had another substance in their system. The other 10% might have had underlying health issues like heart disease and other major health concerns.

Instead of presenting an objective view, they parrot the narrative pushed by the FDA that kratom is a dangerous substance. Then, they couple it with fear-mongering, viral-worthy headlines to get clicks, instead of publishing fully-accurate articles.

The truth is that for most people, kratom is perfectly safe when taken at normal doses. That being said, we don’t disagree with everything the Tampa Bay Times advocated for.

What the Tampa Bay Times Got Right

The Tampa Bay Times at least did their job correctly when attributing ¾ of the deaths to fentanyl, and several others with alcohol and other potentially lethal drugs.

Not only that, but they advocate for stricter safety guidelines, like better dosing instructions, ingredient lists, and other information.

Additionally, while they still follow the inaccurate narrative that kratom is harmful, they do mention some of the possible beneficial uses of kratom like reduced pain and reduced cravings for more harmful substances.

Still, while not the reporters’ fault, their data is incomplete, as the American Kratom Association mentions in their response.

The AKA Response to the Tampa Bay Times

Whereas the Tampa Bay Times concludes that 46 deaths were caused solely by kratom, admitting that 14 of those cases involved “at least one medical problem, such as heart disease, listed as a contributing factor,” the AKA rightfully states that data is skewed.

They state that the assessment of the deaths was not conclusive and that “if the toxicology screen were expanded, it would show dozens of substances consumers regularly ingest.” They use studies to back their response including one where deaths in Colorado were found to be the result not of kratom but of other substances.

They even include a CDC article that found that toxicology tests were not consistent and that many of the deaths could not conclusively rule out other causes.

As you can see, the Tampa Bay Times unfairly paints a bleak picture of kratom, when kratom is a helpful plant that improves the quality of life for millions of users in the United States and millions more around the world.

How to Stay Safe When Taking Kratom

Despite the recent article published by the Tampa Bay Times, we strongly believe that kratom is mostly harmless to healthy adults at normal doses.

That being said, side effects like nausea and dependence are possible, especially with potent strains like Ketum’s Super Green 50x Enhanced Kratom Powder. To reduce the likelihood of these side effects, we recommend taking it slow, starting with a low dose to make sure your body adjusts before trying heavier doses. 

Additionally, many of the products referenced in the Tampa Bay Times are excessively strong, contaminated, or sketchy. That’s why we strongly recommend choosing a kratom supplier that lab tests their kratom, like We even publish our kratom and Delta-8 tests online for you to see anytime! 

Finally, don’t take kratom with other substances like opioids, benzodiazepines, or large amounts of alcohol, and talk to your doctor before taking kratom, especially if you have underlying health issues. 

By doing these things, you can reduce the likelihood of side effects, but in our experience the side effects are minimal. 

Conclusion: Why Kratom is Safer Than the Tampa Bay Times Says

While the Tampa Bay Times paints a picture of dangerous kratom products that have the potential to kill, their “hundreds of deaths” claim is instantly brought down to 32 that only contain kratom without underlying health issues. And, as the AKA pointed out, many of those likely have undiagnosed health issues or other substances that weren’t tested for in the autopsy.

Like the AKA, we believe that kratom-only deaths are not only highly unlikely but close to impossible for healthy adults who aren’t taking other substances. This is especially true if you buy them from a reputable vendor who provides and tests high-quality, unadulterated kratom products. Tap here to order premium kratom today!

Author avatar


Faisal Jamal leads the team at Restorm Scientific and believes in ethical medical marketing. He has helped many leading healthcare companies to develop a successful marketing strategy in a rapidly changing marketplace. He has a great passion for medical research and believes in providing evidence-based information on Cannabis, CBD, & Kratom.

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