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Tainted supplements responsible for wrongful death

When working toward health or fitness goals, many take advantage of any resource that offers results. For some, this means taking over-the-counter supplements, many of which are not regulated by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Nevertheless, those seeking to lose weight or gain muscle may trust that what they read on the label is reliable and that the manufacturer would warn consumers of any potentially harmful ingredients. Apparently, this is not always the case, and the apparent wrongful death of an athlete is one recent example.

A 27-year-old New York police sergeant was no stranger to supplements because he was a bodybuilder. Part of his regimen was taking an herbal supplement called kratom, which is known for providing bodybuilders with stamina, pain relief and energy. In fact, kratom is also used in some cases to wean people who are addicted to opioids. The police officer purchased the powder form, which he ate in the form of a paste.

Kratom is banned in six states because of reported deaths due to its side effects. However, it remains on the market while lawmakers consider a national ban. Such a ban came too late for the New York police officer who died of a pulmonary edema, which caused his lungs to become filled with blood and fluids. An autopsy stated that he died as a result of an overdose of kratom.

Supplements are supposed to contain vitamins, minerals or other physiologically useful substances. However, reports are more frequently finding banned and untested substances included in the supplements but not listed on the labels. Consumers have a right to know what is included in the products they purchase for their health and well-being. When those products cause tragedy, it is common for victims and surviving family to consider seeking justice through wrongful death claims.

Source: Men's Health, "This Healthy 27-Year-Old Died After Using a Common Bodybuilding Supplement", Danielle Zickl, Oct. 3, 2017

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