LOS ANGELES – Opioids, such as fentanyl, continue to claim an alarming number of lives in the United States, involved in 80 percent of overdose deaths. Sadly, these deaths often go unnoticed by the wider public. However, the recent death of Coolio, the rapper known for his hit “Gangsta’s Paradise,” has put fentanyl back in the spotlight. According to the Los Angeles County medical examiner, Coolio died from a drug overdose that involved fentanyl, heroin, and methamphetamine. Although he passed away around six months ago, the coroner’s report was only recently finalized.
The medical examiner, who ruled the September death accidental, also cited other “significant conditions,” including cardiomyopathy, asthma and recent phencyclidine use. Phencyclidine, or PCP, is a dangerous drug originally used as an anesthetic. Despite being discontinued for human use in 1965 due to its severe side effects, it is still illegally used for its mind-altering effects.
Unfortunately, Coolio is just one of many celebrities to have died from fentanyl. Other notable names include Tom Petty, Prince, and Mac Miller, as well as Lil Peep, Michael K. Williams, and Tyler Sanders.
The increasing number of deaths from fentanyl is due to drug manufacturers lacing various illicit drugs with the substance, as it is cheaper and easier to produce. Since fentanyl is up to 100 times more potent than morphine, even small doses can be deadly.