Cocktails & Spirits

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

Page 3 of 3

From there, his wife started frequenting Purple Lotus one or twice a week, he claims. And then, in less than a month, it became a daily occurrence.

"When it finally came to light that there was kratom in the drink, it was too late," Michael remembers. "I don't know how much she was doing, but she was doing it on a daily basis."

At $11 a drink, the komodo had its financial toll on the Siegels. Just one shot a day is $330 a month. If you invest in the head mod (a drink with five servings of kava and kratom), that's $37 a day or $1,110 a month.

Erica then began to purchase kratom at the bar and would take it home because it was cheaper that way.

"At first, she was just buying the kratom, and she tried mixing it in Gatorade or juice, but she wasn't getting the same effect she would have when she had it with kava," Michael remembers. "There were feelings of euphoria, but it wasn't as intense."

Erica then started buying the kava blend from Purple Lotus to re-create the komodo drink at home.

A therapist she was seeing for her anxiety tried to persuade Erica to wean herself off the kratom. That's when the problems started. Erica couldn't stop.

"When she didn't have kratom, she would fall into a severe depression and would have to be bed-ridden," Michael remembers. "There were these severe withdrawal effects: achiness, shakiness, cold, clammy sweats, irritability..."

The therapist then agreed to write a letter to the Purple Lotus Bar suggesting they no longer serve Erica.

The bar agreed. But they still sold kratom to Michael, who would go home and give it to his wife.

KEEP NEW TIMES BROWARD-PALM BEACH FREE... Since we started New Times Broward-Palm Beach, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of South Florida, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Jess Swanson is a staff writer at New Times. Born and raised in Miami, she graduated from the University of Miami’s School of Communication and wrote briefly for the student newspaper until realizing her true calling: pissing off fraternity brothers by reporting about their parties on her crime blog. Especially gifted in jumping rope and solving Rubik’s cubes, she also holds the title for longest stint as an unpaid intern in New Times history. She left the Magic City for New York to earn her master’s degree from Columbia University School of Journalism, where she spent a year profiling circumcised men who were trying to regrow their foreskins for a story that ultimately won the John Horgan Award for Critical Science Journalism. Terrified by pizza rats and arctic temperatures, she quickly returned to her natural habitat.
Contact: Jess Swanson