Denver family warns others about dangers of legal herbal stimulant

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(Photo: MGN Online)

(Photo: MGN Online)

DENVER — It’s an herbal stimulant that you can buy online or in smoke shops around Colorado. But one Denver family wants you to know that Kratom could kill you.

It killed their son, husband and father, they said.

Guy Garcia was only 36 when he collapsed at his parent’s home and never regained consciousness.

His family said he showed no signs of being sick.

They later learned he had been taking a drug that’s perfectly legal.  Now, they said they want to warn others.

“He was a loving, loving man is who he was,” said Guy’s wife, Carrie Garcia. “He always had a smile on his face, constantly had a smile on his face, which we don’t get to see anymore, sadly.”

That smile was forever wiped away Dec. 14 because of an overdose of Kratom.

The drug, made from the leaves of a tree in Thailand, Malaysia, Myanmar and other areas of Southeast Asia, acts as both a stimulant and sedative, depending on dosage.

“He was sitting in that chair, working at the computer and he had the most horrendous grand mal seizure I have ever seen,” said his Guy’s mom, Joy Atencio.

Guy would never recover — doctors declared him brain dead four days later.

“That was the end of his life and we know that it was the Kratom, and that’s what the death certificate says,” said Atencio.

His death certificate listed “apparent acute mitragynine toxicity” as cause of death.  Mitragynine is the chemical compound, commonly known as Kratom.

Carrie said her husband had used the drug in pill and powder form for two years to help combat anxiety.

He told his mom he became addicted after just three weeks.

“Everybody is all sweetness and light about this drug,” said Atencio.

She said she is so frustrated that people make claim after claim online that Kratom is not harmful, not addictive and no big deal.

“I recommend this as a legal high,” said one man about Kratom on YouTube.

“It’s no big deal. I tell you, it is a big deal to me,” said Atencio.

They said they want to bring awareness to others that a legal herbal stimulant has forever changed their lives.

“He was a healthy individual,” said Carrie. “To know in such a short time that he was here, that a drug that is not regulated, that’s glorified on the Internet, took his life.”

Kratom is on the US Drug Enforcement Administration’s watch list of Drugs and Chemicals of Concern in 2013.

Only Indiana and Ohio have banned its sale.

Guy’s family said they will now push for a law to have it declared illegal in Colorado as well.


  • Danny diplomat

    It couldn’t be from pure kratom I take it for health benefits , these people must be lying or he died from something else a herb can’t kill you

    • First Name Last Name

      Seriously this family clearly didn’t have an autopsy done or didn’t care to get one, I clearly didn’t read the article but know this would not be from pure kratom.

  • grace

    “… and he had the most horrendous grand mal seizure I have ever seen,” said his Guy’s mom, Joy Atencio.

    Yea um… how many grand mal seizures have you seen? Sorry that your son died, but get an actual autopsy done before you go pointing your finger.

  • Alex Smiless

    Retailers like you are the reason that Kratom is being targeted and misrepresented in the media. Who knows what you mix into your product besides kratom. This is probably what happened to this poor gentleman and family in this news story. Kratom should only be utilized in its leaf form directly from the plant.

    Kratom in its natural leaf state has medicinal value and people have taken it for years without issue and have gained quality of life because of this plant. Kratom is only getting a bad reputation because it has been marketed unscrupulously.

    Kratom should be used responsibly by adults only. It should be in the same herbal category as Valerian root. Valerian root must also be taken responsibly.

    FYI tylenol is responsible for way more deaths and injuries a year. Why arent the tylenol stories reported on as well?

    • Alex Smiless

      FYI this above comment was in response to an unscrupulous vendor that was using the comment section to promote his “product” on this article which seems to have been removed. I still stand my my comment that all the bad media and problems surrounding kratom has to do with the retailers that sell it as a legal high and combine it with other substances.

  • Thursten

    Just because the medical examiner found Kratom in the body after this person died does NOT mean Kratom caused it. There is no such thing as “Kratom toxicity” and you can eat 1lb of Kratom and will just vomit it up. You are less likely to die from Kratom overdose than you are to die from coffee overdose.

    Please. This is BAD REPORTING an scientifically inaccurate.

    Kratom is used medicinally by millions worldwide with few side effects and much less side effects than aspirin or ibuprofen.

  • Ed Hoy

    The above story is the epitome of yellow journalism. Kratom is neither tixic, nor a substance worthy of abuse. Media like this is directly encouraged by the pharmaceutical companies who pay the bills at these pathetic excuses for objective reporting. KRATOM has been documentably used by humans for thousands of years with no known level of lethal toxicity. Anyone with an ounce of inclination can start researching this plant, mitragyna speciosa, at Wikipedia and then find primary sources of studies there, to learn that the only danger Kratom poses is to the prifits of the big pharma companies who try to corner the market on pain relief and addiction treatment with their patentable poisons. Shame on this media putlet for so clearly selling their journalistic souls to their advertisers.

    • Ed Hoy

      Sory for the mispellings above. Tixic= Toxic. Prifits =Profits and putlets=outlets.
      Other than that, I stand by my remarks, and reiterate, SHAME ON THIS PIDDLEY LITTLE “NEWS Station” and their cowtowing to their sponsors.

  • Jay Woodward

    As trajic as this is, the misreporting is equally as bad in my opinion. Would you move to ban peanut butter if this individual was allergic and there was evidence of so called peanut toxicity? I had a near fatal reaction to shellfish but I don’t think crab meat should be banned or the whole seafood industry should be put out of business.

  • joey burch

    Wow! Kratom has been used for thousands of years with no reported deaths! I just dont believe this story!

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