In 2021, tragedy struck the family of Krystal Talavera, a 39-year-old mother-of-four from Palm Beach, Florida. While preparing a Father’s Day breakfast for her partner, she collapsed and tragically passed away. It was later revealed that she had ingested a ‘legal high’ substance known as Kratom.
Biagio Vultaggio, the father of her youngest child, found her lifeless body in the kitchen of their $640k home. Next to her was her one-year-old son and an open bag of a synthetic drug called ‘Space Dust,’ which is derived from Kratom and commonly sold as a supplement in US stores.
Following her death, Talavera’s eldest son, Devin Filippelli, filed a lawsuit against Kratom distributor Grow LLC, holding them responsible for her passing. The court ruled in favor of the family, ordering Grow LLC to pay over $11 million in damages.
Kratom contains mitragynine, a compound that can produce opioid-like effects when taken in high concentrations, leading to respiratory failure. The lawsuit argued that Grow LLC sold its Kratom products without providing sufficient warnings or instructions for use, making the drug more dangerous than consumers might expect.
Despite the devastating loss and the court’s ruling, Talavera’s son expressed that no amount of money could fill the void left by his mother’s death. She was a beloved registered nurse at Trustbridge Hospice Care, known for her caring nature and had recently been promoted.
The family’s GoFundMe campaign managed to raise funds to cover Talavera’s funeral expenses and paid tribute to her as an incredible woman with a big heart, leaving behind a legacy of love and cherished memories.
Speaking to McClatchy News said: Kratom is a substance sold in various stores and online in the United States. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has cautioned against its use as a dietary supplement or medication due to its potential risks. Despite this, approximately 1.7 million Americans aged 12 and older were reported to be Kratom users in 2021.
The $11-million-dollar judgment against Grow LLC has served as a stark warning to the Kratom industry about the dangers of this unregulated substance. Attorney Tamara Williams emphasized the addictive and potentially deadly nature of Kratom, calling for greater awareness and regulation to protect families from similar tragedies in the future.