Lawsuit: Chester County man's death linked to unregulated herbal product

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The family of a Chester County man who died from an overdose is suing the company that sold their son an unregulated herbal product.

On Thursday, in Center City, attorney Robert Mongeluzzi and his legal team announced a wrongful death lawsuit against California-based SoCal Herbal Remedies.

A coroner determined 25-year-old Caleb Sturgis, of West Chester, died in June of 2018 with a high concentration of "Kratom" in his bloodstream.

According to the lawsuit, Sturgis died from a heart attack after he drank tea made with Kratom.

"The only other 'positive finding' reported in the toxicology report was for caffeine, which the influential Kratom industry touts as equivalent in safety to its products," said the attorney representing the Sturgis family

The FDA considers all Kratom products harmful and has advocated for a total ban on their sale.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has warned consumers not to use Mitragyna speciosa, commonly known as kratom, a plant which grows naturally in Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, and Papua New Guinea. FDA is concerned that kratom, which affects the same opioid brain receptors as morphine, appears to have properties that expose users to the risks of addiction, abuse, and dependence.

Last year, the FDA linked Kratom to at least 44 deaths.
Copyright © 2019 WPVI-TV. All Rights Reserved.