FIRST LET ME TELL YOU A LITTLE ABOUT CALEB.
SALTZ, MONGELUZZI & BENDESKY, P.C.
REMARKS OF SCOTT STURGIS, FATHER OF CALEB STURGIS
March 7, 2019
He really enjoyed life to the fullest. He took the founding fathers’ advice to pursue happiness seriously. He loved gymnastics, he loved art, he loved writing, and he loved to talk and make friends. He loved talking with family and friends until all hours, he loved exploring the unknown.
Caleb began using Kratom several years before it would kill him. It came without ANY WARNING LABEL, NO clear dosage instructions. He was using it routinely and couldn’t stop using it. We thought it was a harmless herbal remedy and didn’t know it could addict and kill.
FAST FORWARD TO THE DAY NONE OF US WILL EVER FORGET.
We were away at Cape May for a week celebrating the high school graduation of our youngest, Jared. It was Wednesday, the third day of our trip, and our daughters were planning to join us that evening; they could only get a few days off work.
Caleb was disappointed that he couldn’t join us at all, but he’d started his new job just two months before, and had recently felt he had a success there, improving communications with the resident advisers at the PAHRTNERS group home.
We had breakfast in town and I was lying down planning out the next day of vacation. My phone had buzzed but I figured I could deal with anything later.
When I got up, I noticed a text from our neighbor saying a pair of police officers were at the door, and a phone message from Paoli Hospital.
I called, but couldn’t get answers from the nurse, except that the doctor would call me back. I knew things were not good, so I sent Tanya to the hospital from her work. Lori, Jared and I took the dogs for a walk. I didn’t know what was up, but until I had an answer, I wasn’t going to upset everyone.
Then the call came. A police officer started with, “I regret to inform you…”, and everything went black for a moment.
I texted Tanya and told her to turn around; no need going to the hospital; she should go tell her sister Cassandra at her work — and Caleb’s co-workers, because they worked together— and then tell his boyfriend RJ. They all should find out in person.
Then, I had to tell Lori and Jared. It was a nightmare, as you can imagine. It became real. Lori did what moms always do at that point, fell to the floor, sobbed, screamed, and repeated again and again that I was kidding, that it wasn’t true.
Cassandra got overwhelmed, took a bunch of time off, developed an autoimmune illness, switched jobs. Jared watched his graduation-week celebration turn into a funeral, and put college on hold. Tanya, his big sister, was quietly devastated. We all had to learn how to talk to each other again.
Slowly I learned what happened to Caleb. Kratom killed him.
The Medical Examiner found that Caleb had been killed by Kratom. Only a high concentration of Kratom and a small concentration of caffeine consistent with his morning cup of coffee were found in Caleb’s blood.
We can’t get Caleb back. We can’t go back to where we were. We can pick the pieces up and build something new with them.
We are speaking out so that people know that Kratom can and does kill. Kratom needs to be banned until there is sufficient research proving its safety, efficacy and dosing. Kratom killed our Caleb. We will not stand silent until it can’t kill anyone else.