He kicked alcohol, became addicted to wellness drink that works like opioid, lawsuit says

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LA Times via MSN on 04-7-2023

A Santa Monica beverage company is facing a class-action lawsuit alleging the primary ingredient in its … kava drink is an addictive opioid-like substance known as kratom.

The manufacturer of a wellness drink markets and sells its product in California as a “safe, sober and healthy alternative to alcohol,” according to the lawsuit, which details the experiences of a recovering alcoholic who claims to have been deceived by the company’s advertisements.

The company’s attorney Brett Schuman told The Times that the suit lacks merit and that the company intends to vigorously defend the product in court.

“… products are safe and manufactured, marketed, and distributed to the highest industry standards,” Schuman said in a statement.

Marketing materials say the product is no more habit-forming than sugar or caffeine. But attorney Shounak Dharap, who represents the plaintiff, says in the lawsuit that the Food and Drug Administration has noted that kratom “appears to have properties that expose people who consume kratom to the risks of addiction, abuse and dependence.” It’s also been listed by the Drug Enforcement Administration as a drug and chemical of concern.