Lawsuit Claims Addiction to Purple Lotus Kava Bar's Kratom-Laced Drink

kavakratom.jpg
All photos by Jess Swanson
This is the drink Erica Siegel was addicted to, and once we heard about it, we had to try it too!
"This is what $15,000 worth of kratom looks like," Michael Siegel remembers Purple Lotus Bar owner Jimmy Scianno saying as he lifted a brick of the brown powder over his head.

The bar then broke out in chatter. Some people just stared in awe. Others half-jokingly plotted ways to swipe the goods. Everyone kept sipping their murky tea of kava and kratom, their eyes peering over coconut-shell cups.

That was 18 months ago. Kratom's currently banned in Thailand, Australia, Myanmar, Malaysia, and recently Indiana and Tennessee. Kratom was legal in Florida then, and it still is now.

Some argue it weans addicts off stronger drugs like heroin, cocaine, and methadone, and others simply like the way it makes them feel. But then there's Michael Siegel, who believes that kratom ripped apart his family -- his wife, Erica Siegel, is currently at a rehab center in Boca Raton to combat her addiction to kratom, he says.

See also: Purple Lotus's Kratom-Laced Kava Drink: We Try For Ourselves

Kava is an ancient Fijian infusion made from the roots of the kava plant. A taste combination somewhere between muddy water and soap, kava -- plainly put -- doesn't taste good. Yet the people of the South Pacific hold to its sacred powers. It's supposedly mind-altering and slows the processing of dopamine. It definitely numbs the tongue on first sip.

Kratom too is from the South Pacific, but that's the only intrinsic similarity between both plants. Kratom comes from the coffee family, kava from the pepper root. Kratom is an opiate substitute and, allegedly, extremely addictive. Kava isn't. And it's kratom that is slowly becoming illegal around the nation, not kava.

There are those who swear kratom is harmless, but it was a kratom-laced kava drink that Erica Siegel had at Purple Lotus almost two years ago that allegedly provoked her addiction.

Michael and Erica Siegel are from West Palm Beach. They have been married for eight years and have a 2-year-old daughter. Five years ago, Erica battled an alcohol addiction. She eventually sobered up. Two years later, a friend of theirs, a yoga instructor at Purple Lotus Kava Bar, told the recovering alcoholic about kava.

"My wife suffers from anxiety, and she tried doing yoga and other more holistic approaches than doing pharmaceuticals to combat her anxiety. There was a discussion about kava, and my wife decided to give it a try."

Michael then explained that his wife sat at the bar, looked up on the drink board, and ordered the first thing on the menu: the komodo.

"She looked at a drink board that lists a variety of different drinks not knowing what was in them," Michael stresses. "The ingredients are not being listed; they are not being disclosed. So my wife ordered a komodo... At the time, we didn't know there was any kratom in it or what kratom even was.

"The person behind the bar said it gives you a feeling of calmness and a burst of energy and a euphoric passion. He described it in a way where, who wouldn't want to take it?"


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12 comments
dabearings
dabearings

First of all, it's her fault for not having self control.  She can't even keep away from alcohol, which is like poison.  Although they may win legally, I personally don't think it is right.  Second of all, there are mistakes and confusion between kava and kratom in this article.  It was not well written.

KratomOnline
KratomOnline

An estimated 30 million people around the world have used Kratom. Yet we have only  handful of negative reports. The problem is that the American market has been infiltrated with all these high potency extracts but if you still to the raw leaf you will have almost no side effects in my experience. http://kratomonline.org/kratom-extracts/

Heime_Schwartzbaum
Heime_Schwartzbaum

Why is that every time I see a ridiculous lawsuit in Florida the name is always a Semitic name?

She would be addicted to drain cleaner if it got her off. Geesh- let people have some fun for God's sake.

Purple Lotus Kava Bar
Purple Lotus Kava Bar

"I don't know what that is, but it sounds like Superman should stay away from it."

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

Or, think with self awareness and self responsibility.  She was knowingly consuming something that caused euphoria.  Common sense needs to be applied.  When the therapist talked to her about quitting it and wrote a letter to the place asking them to no longer sell it to her the establishment agreed and stopped making it available.  Then her husband started buying it for her.  He believed it was bad for her and still purchased it for her. That is a bad husband.  Then she fell off the wagon as many alcoholics do and ended up hospitalized for alcohol poisoning.  The article states she gave up this Kratom stuff and proceeded to drink alcohol, her previous addiction, for four months and ended up in rehab.  She ended up in rehab after a four month alcoholic bender and not consuming Kratom for four months.  I'm struggling to see how Kratom put her in rehab, especially after quitting it and going on a four month alcohol bender that hospitalized her. 

whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

Why didn't they sue any of the bars that served her alcohol?   Alcohol and many other legal substances are addictive.  I don't believe the lawsuit will get them anywhere.

Alexis Terrosa
Alexis Terrosa

So because you and your dumb wife dont have any self control you can sue? People like you are the reason this country is afraid of doing anything new. Learn to handle your shit or lock yourself in the house and never come out. Oh and please refrain from procreating.

Keith Lawrence
Keith Lawrence

ha! this is ridiculous. Do you see every alcoholic in Broward suing bars for their own personal irresponsibility? When you point one finger Erica and Michael, remember there are two more pointing back at you.

tonyv7674
tonyv7674

@whateveryousay When you go to a bar you go to drink alcohol.  What if you didn't know what you were drinking? Or they lied to you and said it was healthy and good for you...then you became addicted.  Think outside the box instead of within....

Heime_Schwartzbaum
Heime_Schwartzbaum

@tonyv7674 @whateveryousay Or maybe try some personal responsibility? I am so sick and tired of people blaming everyone else for their own actions.

Everyone knows cigarettes kill you- they even put a warning on the pack saying so. But people smoke anyway. Whose fault is that?


whateveryousay
whateveryousay topcommenter

@tonyv7674 @whateveryousay Or, think with self awareness and self responsibility.  She was knowingly consuming something that caused euphoria.  Common sense needs to be applied.  When the therapist talked to her about quitting it and wrote a letter to the place asking them to no longer sell it to her the establishment agreed and stopped making it available.  Then her husband started buying it for her.  He believed it was bad for her and still purchased it for her. That is a bad husband.  Then she fell off the wagon as many alcoholics do and ended up hospitalized for alcohol poisoning.  The article states she gave up this Kratom stuff and proceeded to drink alcohol, her previous addiction, for four months and ended up in rehab.  She ended up in rehab after a four month alcoholic bender and not consuming Kratom for four months.  I'm struggling to see how Kratom put her in rehab, especially after quitting it and going on a four month alcohol bender that hospitalized her. 

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