Sensationalism in Journalism Gets in the Way of Education
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Sensationalism in Journalism Gets in the Way of Education

Some of us in the kratom community might not realize this, but not a very high percentage of the public knows about kratom. I explain it to my friends and family as a “tea”, and the more stimulating strains taken at a dose of 5g or less as a “5 hour espresso buzz”. I talk about all the Kratom Stories we’ve reported on here on Kratom Science from those who use kratom as a tool in their wellness toolbox for help with chronic pain, getting off opiates and/or alcohol, dealing with long, stressful workdays of manual labor, and in dealing with depression and anxiety.

What doesn’t help is when those same people turn to their local news outlet and read ridiculous “Reefer Madness” style headlines like:

Kratom: It’s legal, unregulated and has contributed to 2 deaths in Colorado

This is from Sky-Hi News in Colorado. As is typical with sensationalist headlines like these, the author goes on to explain that kratom was only one of multiple substances found in the systems of the deceased, who unfortunately both had histories of heavy drug abuse.

The local county coroner “indicated kratom was found in the systems of both deceased individuals, both of whom were young adult males who had histories of opioid use.”

Of course. The article goes on to explain:

In one of the cases…two substances were found in the system of the deceased man, inhalants and kratom, and that both substances were found at levels that would be fatally toxic. In the other death, multiple drugs were found in the person’s system and, while the kratom levels were not considered to be toxic, its presence was considered to be a contributing factor to death.

Were caffeine, aspirin, ibuprofen, or sugar found in their system? We don’t know, but all of these substances contribute to deaths every year.

The nature of such a sensationalist headline is that it misinforms the casual reader who may not even click on the story. They will scroll by looking for news they are more interested in, and see a “Drugs = Bad, Mmkay?” headline.

Dozens of comments from those more informed about kratom appeared under the story making the same points about sensationalist journalism, or as it’s popularly called these days, “fake news.”

Here are a handful of the comments calling out this report.

All articles about deaths from Kratom are totally wrong…out to scare the public. In every case there has been more than one prescription or illegal drug in the system of dead. The Big Pharma and government want it out because they can not profit. Kind if how they profited from opiates and rehabs. Now the people with true chronic pain are out in the cold with no relief. So those who have found Kratom are in jeopardy of losing the one natural thing that help!

Darci

I’d like to see the toxicology reports that will tell us both those people have multiple substances in their system. Like the other so called kratom deaths. I’ve been taking kratom for over 5 years and I get organ function tests every 6 months because several of them used to be failing. I’ve gotten great results. But I don’t take otc or rx meds or anything really that can cause respiratory depression.

Heidi

This article is BS, it says kratom was in their system. For all we know they have sugar in their system does that mean it killed them? NO! The question is what else was in their system, did they have health issues? Just because kratom is in your system doesn’t mean it killed the person. Lordy

Iowa

Lance, maybe spend more time writing articles on alcohol, tobacco or diabetes. Two things that are perfectly legal. The government fully turns a blind eye towards that killing millions of people every year because it brings in big money. Your article was well written but the title is completely foolish. If you are having trouble getting views, find a different way. You are a huge reason why Donald Trump’s “fake news” holds so much weight.

James

On a positive note, I am seeing more and more stories including voices of those who have benefited from kratom, even under sensationalist headlines such as these. This article has a story from “Hank” and quotes him as saying:

“It helped me kick the most self destructive habit I have ever had and I don’t think I could have done that had it not been legal.”

This Post Has One Comment

  1. I know exactly the article you’re referring to. For me, it enrages me the ignorance of what is called journalism now days when it should be called “‘Crap to kiss my boss’ butt for ratings –so he can climb the corporate latter. The headline alone took away from the actual story itself, 2 people were dead. And a journalist made it about kratom and got exactly what they wanted by the reaction. I agree with you, most people I come across do not even know what it is., I’m from Colorado, born and raised, still living in a city I grew up in. I find myself more and more advocating from a genuine belief in the plant because I am alive today because of it. I never started taking it to get off any drugs. I have kidney disease and between Kratom, Turmeric & Moringa, I’ve maintained stage 2B for over 8 months. Amazing right? Yet, I HAD a doctor that refused to go on record. I sometimes still cry about that. Kratom should be embraced by the medical profession, instead it’s snubbed while they’re all drinking and driving home from their conferences. But I have another day, with energy, almost pain free, LOL– because of Kratom .

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