Matt Dana, a 27-year-old police officer and bodybuilding enthusiast who passed away in August, died from an overdose of the herbal supplement kratom, according to The Associated Press.
An autopsy revealed that the herbal supplement, also known as mitragyna speciosa, was “the only substance in Dana's system” at the time of his death, according to Franklin County Coroner Shawn Stuart. Kratom is made from the leaf of a Southeast Asian plant. It can be used for pain relief, help with depression and anxiety, as well as treating opioid addiction, according to WebMD.
Kratom advocates disputed that kratom caused Dana's death, the AP reported, which was blamed on a hemorrhagic pulmonary edema.
Dana had turned the supplement into a paste and had been eating it, likely to help with his bodybuilding, the coroner said. Dana’s obituary mentions that he enjoyed outdoor activities like fishing and hunting, and that he was also a bodybuilder.
"It was the talk of the town. People were upset it was reported as an overdose," Paul Maroun, the mayor of Dana's hometown of Tupper Lake, told the AP. "It's not an illegal drug."
The Drug Enforcement Agency previously proposed a ban of kratom, which is already outlawed in six states, but the proposal was later pulled after pushback from Congress.