Authorities in southwest Washington are becoming increasingly concerned about the use of Kratom, after a death and a disturbance call in just the last few days possibly linked to the product.
Cowlitz County deputies were called to a Longview home Monday on reports that a 31-year-old woman had died.
Emergency crews arrived and were unable to revive the woman. Investigators said open packets of Kratom were found around her room, along with a glass smoking pipe with residue in it.
Deputies said it's not yet clear what role Kratom played in the woman's death. A toxicology report is not expected back for weeks.
Investigators said the woman did have medical issues, but they were not considered life-threatening.
Deputies released photos of the Kratom products found in the home. The Cowlitz County Medical Examiner's Office identified the woman as Leah Waite. An autopsy was performed Monday night, but the results were inconclusive.
The DEA has placed Kratom on its list of "drugs and chemicals of concern."
A PeaceHealth St. John Medical Center spokesperson said last year the number of cases at the hospital involving Kratom was basically non-existent. In the last few months, however, a handful of people have gone to the emergency department hysterical and screaming after using it.
Kelso police also responded to a disturbance early Sunday morning involving a woman officers described as hysterical holding a baby and a hammer.
The 27-year-old woman's father told Fox 12 she admitted drinking a cup of Kratom tea before the situation got out of control.
Police said the woman swung the hammer toward them, before getting in a car where officers managed to restrain her and take control of the baby.
Deputies said Kratom may be legal, but there's no way to know what herbs or chemicals are in the packet or the potency and purity of them.
Copyright 2013 KPTV-KPDX Broadcasting Corporation. All rights reserved.
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