The autopsy report of Jimmy Hayes, the former Boston Bruins forward, revealed that he had fentanyl and cocaine in his system at the time of death. Though ruled an accident, the Massachusetts state medical examiner’s report states, “Fentanyl was a factor in his death.”
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid used to treat patients with chronic severe pain and severe pain management post-surgery. According to the DEA website, “(sic) is a Schedule II controlled substance similar to morphine, but about 100 times more potent.”
But on the streets, illicit fentanyl manufactured in furtive laboratories is mixed with other illegal drugs to increase potency. It is also being sold as powders and nasal sprays; or pills that look very similar to legitimate prescription opioids. The DEA goes on to state, “There is a significant risk that illegal drugs have been intentionally contaminated with fentanyl. Because of its potency and low cost, drug dealers have been mixing fentanyl with other drugs including heroin, methamphetamine, and cocaine, increasing the likelihood of a fatal interaction.”
A hazardous drug, even two milligrams of fentanyl can be lethal depending on a person’s body size and tolerance. Known to cause dependence, the drug is more addictive than heroin. A kilogram of this illicit drug has the potential to kill 500,000 people.