‘This drug is popular with teenagers’: Family urges lawmakers to ban herb with addictive characteristics after son’s death

ATLANTA — A metro Atlanta family is suing to stop convenience stores from selling a product that killed their son. It’s called kratom and their lawsuit also goes after companies making and distributing it.

The grief is still fresh for the Pope family almost a year after their son Ethan died. The family’s lawsuit alleges while kratom is legal in Georgia, it’s not regulated, and they’re hoping to change that.

“Ethan was 23 and in the prime of his life,” Dana Pope said.

His life ended unexpectedly last December. 

“We received a call from the coroner that Ethan was found dead on the floor with his puppy Wilson by his side,” Pope said. “Months later, we received his death certificate, and Ethan’s cause of death was kratom toxicity.”

Ethan’s parents are now filing a lawsuit against about a dozen companies associated with kratom, alleging the herb contributed to his death.

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