Synthetic opioid blamed for Rice defensive end's death

Dr. Saturday

A coroner ruled Tuesday that Rice defensive end Blain Padgett died after being under the influence of a highly potent synthetic opioid.

The Harris County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Padgett, who died on March 2, had taken carfentanil. Padgett was found dead in his apartment after he didn’t show up to a team workout earlier that day.

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What Padgett took

Padgett’s family said in a statement that they wanted to know how he was able to acquire the drug, which was originally designed to be a tranquilizer for elephants according to a doctor cited by ABC 13 in Houston.

The family is very devastated by the news and how it came out of the blue. The way we heard about it is very disappointing. We would like to know how Blain got his hands on this drug that seems very difficult to get. That’s our main question. How did he get it and why did he take it? Sadly, nothing we find out will bring Blain back, which is what we really want.”

Carfentanil is extremely, extremely potent

Carfentanil is a derivative of fentanyl, which is 100 times more powerful than morphine. Carfentanil is 100 times more powerful than morphine, according to Recovery First. The site also says that when veterinarians use carfentanil on an animal they wear protective gear as to not absorb the drug through their skin because of its potency.

Former Drug Enforcement Agency acting administrator Chuck Rosenberg said in a 2016 DEA statement that the agency was seeing carfentanil more and more in the public domain because it was being disguised as heroin. That same DEA release said the agency didn’t know what the lethal dose of carfentanil was for humans and noted that fentanyl can be lethal with as few as two milligrams.

“Carfentanil is surfacing in more and more communities.” Rosenberg said. “We see it on the streets, often disguised as heroin.  It is crazy dangerous.  Synthetics such as fentanyl and carfentanil can kill you.  I hope our first responders – and the public – will read and heed our health and safety warning.  These men and women have remarkably difficult jobs and we need them to be well and healthy.”

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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