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Personal Stories





My precious Son Matthew Joseph Eller died at 22 years old of an accidental kratom overdose. He wasn’t taking any hard drugs nor prescription drugs. Matthew was born to me on March 8, 1999. He was the youngest of my six children, my baby. He also had a step-brother and two step sisters. He was so independent, loving, outgoing, happy, hard working, cocky and smart. His sisters, brothers, myself family & friends all loved him so much. We are all so devastated! He always remembered his grandparents on special days and gave them gifts. He made friends very easily, and was the best kind of friend you could have who would be there whenever you needed him. Matthew had a girlfriend who he loved with his whole heart. Although he didn’t really care about tattoos, he got his girlfriends name tattooed on his chest.  He was one of the best at any sport he played, and the hardest worker.

Before taking kratom he loved spending time with friends and family, camping, snowmobiling, basketball, dirt biking, kayaking, playing with his cats & fishing. When he got more into kratom he kept more to himself and became somewhat reclusive. He didn’t believe kratom was a drug. He thought of it only as a herbal supplement to improve his life. Then one day after taking kratom he was playing cards, had a seizure, went into cardiac arrest and died.

Our family is no longer whole, there is an emptiness in our family circle that can never be filled, a deep sadness that will never go away, we will love and miss our Matthew until we take our last breath. – Susan Gee Eppard



Joel was so proud! He’d gotten off heroin after rehab, but had fallen into meth. He was so proud he’d been clean of both for two years. He was using kratom, a “supplement”, to help him deal with the decreased serotonin loss of his previous heroin abuse.  But I could tell something wasn’t right.  At 31, his hands shook like he had palsy. Being in the tech industry, he became fearful of all things tech. He heard clicks in the walls, thought he was being spied upon. He called the police and FBI numerous times to report the supposed surveillance.  Having been anti-Christian, it was surprising when he joined a church and started giving everyone bibles with highlighted passages.

May 5, 2021, four days before his birthday, during the beginning of the pandemic lockdowns, Joel came to my husband, Andy, and me, looking for guidance.  His face morphed in ways I’ve never seen another human’s face morph. From happy to fearful to devastation in a few seconds. But he assured us he was going to finally share all this with his psychiatrist. We were so relieved. At 31 and married, he was clearly having a psychotic issue but we had no legal ability to do anything.

In texts the next day I read that the voices in his head were actually Jesus calling him home. I frantically called his psychiatrist, but Joel didn’t show to that appointment.  May 20, 2021 Joel was supposed to go to his church’s men’s support group. Instead he booked a hotel room, bought a new gun because his friend as well as his brother had confiscated his prior gun because Joel was so irrational, and shot himself in the head. The note he left behind for his wife stated, “I know you will have questions, but Jesus was calling me home."

Joel left behind a young wife, two small sons, his brother and best friend, his biological father who has been fighting cancer, his beloved and admired bonus dad, Andy, and me: I always stood by him and fought through all his addictions and rehabs. As a result,  he was always open and honest with me. He truly felt he was taking a supplement, and encouraged me to take it for my arthritis. Everyone who encountered Joel will attest to how he just wanted to help others.  Turns out those bible versus were warnings, we just didn’t know how to read them.  He left different messages to us all.  So I know, without a doubt, kratom is worse than any of his prior substances he absued - heroin and meth.  The coroner found only kratom and caffeine in his system.  This is our story of kratom. 


My wife, Julie Renee Stosz, was taken by kratom on February 7th, 2019. She was 10 days short of her 50th birthday and 5 months away from our 25th wedding. Julie and I have 2 beautiful daughters, Kara 27 and Samantha 23 and the most beautiful granddaughter ever, Averie, 3 1/2 years old.  Julie started taking kratom around April of 2018 to help with the ongoing pain she had after having major neck surgery in January 2018. She took kratom sporadically for about 10 months before it took her life, no warning whatsoever. Kratom was listed as the sole cause of death on her death certificate, no other contributing factors, none.  The medical examiner who performed her autopsy, Dr. Mary Case and the toxicology expert at St. Louis University have both spoken out against kratom and its use and its dangers. They aided in attempting to get a kratom ban in St. Charles Missouri where the ban failed and they decided to regulate it instead amidst the tons of facts and figures presented to them by medical professionals. The county executive will put the regulation bill through but is doing so without his signature as he does not agree with the decision.  Kratom has left a permanent wake in all our families and friends lives, an emptiness and level of not understanding that can't be unraveled. How can something touted as a natural herb be killing so many people and getting tens of thousands of others addicted be allowed to simply slide under the radar and not get the level of attention it deserves?  Please ban Kratom, at least until it can be tested, made and distributed safely and its true therapeutic uses can be found. Then when that is completed, put it in the hands of the medical professionals to be distributed by prescription only...

Nick Stosz


My name is Carol Genautis. My son Eric died of a Kratom overdose on December 29, 2017 at the age of 26. His death has traumatized my family. Please get Kratom off the street! Eric thought it was a safe substance to use because of the way they market it online.  It was the miracle drug that was

cheap and easy to get but it has turned my world upside down.  Kratom needs to be outlawed. From a mother whose life will never be the same....

     My son, James, was a bright, funny and hard-working young man. During his senior year of high school, he experimented with alcohol and it quickly became a problem for him. A friend told him about this wonder-drug, Kratom, that could help him stop drinking. James started taking Kratom in 2018, and it did help him to stop drinking.  Unfortunately, he became addicted to Kratom and developed a tolerance to it. James thought Kratom was a safe product until he realized he had a problem. He tried to taper off this drug, but he had trouble doing it. Kratom withdrawal caused him many physical symptoms such as severe muscle aches, sleeplessness, restless legs, depression and mood swings. Despite this, for a while, he was successful in cutting down on this drug.  James relapsed in September, 2020, had a grand mal seizure due to Kratom use and was hospitalized. The doctors had no idea what Kratom was and called poison control. He had another seizure in October and had a similar experience at the hospital. There was no way to get him into a treatment center, as no beds were available. Regrettably, on February 5, 2021, James died of Kratom (Mitragyna Speciosa) toxicity; he was 21 years old. Our family is devastated by the loss of our beloved son. The truth about Kratom is that it is absolute poison.

Stacey Reilly


My name is Lauren my beautiful son forever 22 is John M.Eden "johnjohn ".  My son was a junior at UGA and in Navy Intelligence Reserves. Like most young people he thought he was smarter than others.  He was dealing with anxiety but did not want synthetic meds in his body. So he researched natural remedies via internet. This was how he found KRATOM, a calming herbal tea/coffee that is all natural and safe. What my son learned was that it was highly addictive. He was in a constant state of withdrawal and could not take enough kratom due to the tolerance to the kratom.  His world began to spiral, he was so scared of the withdrawals and the full blown addiction that my baby boy decided on May 3 2015 to put a bullet in his head. Leaving a note how much he loved us but he has destroyed himself with this drug. KRATOM IS ADDICTIVE AND VERY DANGEROUS. It does not save people from fighting there addictions it's only switching the addiction from illegal to legal.  It should be known as legal heroin!

Sincerely Lauren

Johnjohn 's Mom


I’m begging you to ban or at least regulate Kratom, it killed my 21 year old son!!  Yes, the active ingredient in Kratom was listed as cause of death.  My son Joey ,struggled with an Adderall and Xanax addiction.  He wanted to quit taking pills and the clerk at a tobacco shop sold him Kratom capsules.  My son was brilliant and had a whole life to look forward to and an over the counter and unregulated product murdered him.  I will NEVER get over the loss of my child. You have the power, responsibility and the DUTY to protect the public from Kratom!!  I’m begging you to do the right thing.

Grieving mom,

Peggy LaPenna


Kratom is what killed my 25 year old son Caleb -- only Kratom, nothing else. It is a "herbal supplement," but it is what killed my son and many other victims. It was detected by my medical examiner, Christine VandePol of Chester County, Pennsylvania, then reported to the FDA/DEA with my permission.   Kratom is a  new, popular toxic drink today for young people who take it for energy, depression, or anxiety (or even all of the above) and older consumers use it for chronic pain, depression, and more. Many take it in secret. Please, do add kratom to the drug list for toxicology tests. Parents have said they found out too late that their kids had used kratom but it was not investigated. To my knowledge, several unknown kratom deaths were dismissed, because their blood samples expired after 18 months to 2 years.  Please, alert all other medical professionals regarding this quickly-growing epidemic. Kratom is among the many silent killers now. I am attaching my letter and letters from others who have lost loved ones to kratom to show you that the "herbal supplement," kratom, does kill.

Lori Sturgis


My name is Kim. I want to share my story related to Kratom. I am the mother of a 31-year-old son. My son is a successful businessman. He is married and has two children. He is the proud father of a three-year-old son and a one-year-old daughter. Sometime in early 2022, my son’s career became very busy, and he was working long hours daily. At the same time his daughter was born and with the new familyarrival there were many sleepless nights. With the busy work schedule and sleepless nights anxiety/stress set in. Someone recommended a new miracle natural botanical that is great for anxiety. The recommendation was to try Kratom. My son did a little internet research on Kratom and with what he saw online from various Kratom suppliers wasKratom is very safe, all natural, and it helps with many medical issues. The Kratom vendor sites all made claims that the leaf helps with anxiety, sleep, mood, energy, pain, relaxation, among many other claims including how safe the product is.  He tried Kratom. Biggest mistake in his life. Within a year his Kratom usage (Liquid K-Shots from OPMS),  became out of control. This product is highly addictive and as the year went on, he needed more and more. His habit was costing $1,200 to $1,500 a month. He experienced many health problems.Digestive issues, restless leg syndrome, skin problems, aggressive behavior, increased anxiety, lack of energy, and inability to focus to name a few. This addiction caused problems at home. In November of 2022 he admitted himself into a Detox/Inpatient rehab. He came out and promptly purchased Kratom. He admitted himself again in January 2023 which was a repeat of his November experience. Third admittance occurred in February 2023. He returned home March 13 th . As of this writing 03-19-23, he is still clean of the nightmarebotanical Kratom. This has proven to be a very strong addiction very difficult to kick with very difficult detox symptoms. Thirty-five days clean, he is still experiencing health issues from his usage.  My research on Kratom is disturbing. There have been many deaths as a result of usage. Kratom may be all natural, but it is not safe. This opioid based natural plant needs to be Schedule 1. This is not a product that should be sold over the counter anywhere in the US. Consumers need to be aware that this product is highly addictive and causes health problems that can lead to death. They also need to beaware that the claims they see from vendors on the benefits of usage are not scientifically proven. The purchased products have warning labels written only to hold the vendor harmless. Currently the Kratom being sold does not include any recommended dosage and does not warn that unsafe dosage will resultin health problems and or death. As a mother and now a Kratom Danger Awareness advocate, please remove this product from being sold without a physician prescription. Help keep our citizens safe. ~ Kim



     It was December 3rd, 2021. My husband came into my office and said “I’ve

tried calling Ethan 2 days in a row and it keeps going to voicemail”. My heart immediately sank, Ethan was way too responsible to let his phone battery die.

I knew something was terribly wrong.  We sent a coworker to his apartment to

check on him…..the 5 minute drive seemed like an hour as we paced around our backyard.  We finally received a call but it wasn’t his friend, it was the coroner

telling us our son had collapsed on his kitchen floor and passed away. There were kratom bottles in the trash, a crying puppy hovering over him and a note on the kitchen table that said “stop taking kratom”.  The coroner told us he had died the day before.  To say this is a parent's worst nightmare is an understatement.  We then had to call his brother and sister and tell them their beloved older brother was gone.  My kids will never be the same. 

     Ethan was a perfectly healthy 23 year old, he was a runner, he played tennis often and he had just learned to white water kayak.  We did not know Ethan was taking kratom but we believe he thought it was just a healthy supplement. Based on his financial records, he had only been taking kratom for 1 month before it killed him.  The only other thing on his toxicology report was his prescribed antidepressant and an antihistamine, he didn’t even have caffeine in his system. 

     How is it that kratom is banned in countries all over the world but sold here

at gas stations like it’s a candy bar?    

Grieving mom in Georgia.

ethan pic.JPG


Joseph Lumbrazo, 38, was a hard-working man who owned a business to help provide for his 3 sons. Joe was an upstanding citizen and only lived to make sure that his family was provided for. Joseph, like many others, turned to Kratom to help with energy because his work schedule was demanding, draining, and very difficult. After trying many holistic options, he found Kratom to be helpful. But with that positive effect, Kratom also has potentially dangerous side effects. One of which is seizures with the ultimate outcome of dying from the toxicity of Kratom. Kratom is known for its healing qualities but usually doesn’t come with any warning labels or educational information. At least his didn’t come with those additions. Let’s ban together and demand that Kratom be scheduled as a controlled substance, demand that it come with truthful warning labels and educational information.

Due to the loss of my only son, Joseph Lumbrazo at the age of 38, who was poisoned by the substance Kratom, I have vowed to elevate the voices of those who have been adversely affected by Kratom and to advocate for this substance to be scheduled as a controlled substance.

When my daughter was only 15 a Kratom tea bar opened up by our home. The local teens started hanging out there regularly.

My once healthy honor student, sporty, focused driven daughter started displaying odd behaviors. She would have fits of rage, loss of interest in everything she once loved, and started becoming more and more delusional.  A neurologist there informed us that he believed Kratom ate the fat around my daughter’s frontal lobe and requested I get a guardianship (which I did) because the damage could be permanent. We have spent thousands on neurologists, psychologists, and psychiatrists to undo the damage.

Today she is able to function but still has changes that we believe to be permanent at this time like concentration, memory loss, impaired judgement, withdrawn (was once very outgoing), and “spacey”.

Our family is traumatized by this experience. Kratom should not be dispensed to anyone until it is furthered studied and regulated/banned. There are no warnings or controlled amounts at these so-called “tea” places. Please consider joining our fight to regulate/ban in your area.  

Mary Tabar

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