Actor Angus Cloud died of an overdose of cocaine, methamphetamine and fentanyl, a deadly synthetic opioid that has claimed the lives of many, including stars like Cloud.
Because “it takes very little to produce a high with fentanyl, making it a cheaper option,” the National Institute on Drug Abuse said illegally made fentanyl manufacturers are mixing it with other drugs.
Illegally made fentanyl can come in many forms, such as powdered, which looks similar to other drugs and is often mixed with cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine and made into pills with a similar look as pharmaceutical fentanyl, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC said many people are unaware that their drugs are laced with fentanyl, and these accidental overdoses involving fentanyl have reportedly claimed the lives of stars like Cloud, Mac Miller, Lil Peep, Tom Petty and Prince.
Fentanyl is 100 times more powerful than morphine and 50 times more powerful than heroin, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration; the CDC said this power is the reason fentanyl is often added to other drugs.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid whose pharmaceutical version is FDA-approved for pain and relief purposes, according to the DEA.
Some side effects of fentanyl are difficulty breathing, nausea, vomiting, drowsiness and unconsciousness, in addition to extreme happiness and sedation, and it can be highly addictive and dangerous. The drug has been a talking point among politicians, with the House of Representatives passing the HALT Fentanyl Act earlier this year and some Republican presidential candidates referencing the drug’s illicit trafficking as a reason for upping border protection. The HALT Fentanyl Act would classify all fentanyl-related drugs as Schedule I drugs that are at high risk of abuse and have “no currently accepted medical value.” The bill has been met with criticism for potentially driving incarceration rates and hindering further research into fentanyl-related drugs, though the Biden Administration has expressed its support for it. The legislation stems from what many have deemed an opioid crisis that is worsening as drug overdose deaths spiked to about 108,820 in 2021—most of which were from fentanyl.
73,372. That’s how many people have reportedly died from synthetic opioid overdoses as of April 2023, according to the National Center for Health Statistics.