“Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs had overdose on opioids fentanyl and oxycodone along with alcohol in his system when he was found dead in his Texas hotel room July 1, according to a toxicology report released Friday by the Tarrant County medical examiner’s office.
The cause of death is listed as a mixture of ‘alcohol, fentanyl and oxycodone intoxication with the terminal aspiration of gastric contents,’ meaning Skaggs, 27, essentially choked on his vomit while under the influence.
The death, according to the report, was ruled an accident. He was found on his bed, fully clothed, and there were no signs of trauma”. – Los Angeles Times.
Opioid Abuse in Major League Baseball
This tragic news was released on August 30, one day before International Overdose Awareness Day. As a lifelong Angels baseball fan, it is heartbreaking to see another young life lost to opioids. The opioid epidemic has taken thousands of lives and does not discriminate against fame, wealth, or success.
There have been quite a few MLB players who have lost their lives in recent years with substance-related accidents, including car crashes and homicides.
Former Angels baseball player, Josh Hamilton battled alcohol, cocaine, and opioids for years and was eventually banned from baseball from 2003-2005 and after receiving help, later resurfaced into the major league and went on to be a successful player for the Texas Rangers.
Unfortunately, Josh Hamilton is still battling intermittent relapses. “It’s like someone who is missing a limb, it’s not there anymore, but every once in a while you feel like you have an itch…the thing is, you can’t scratch it”- Josh Hamilton explained to the Los Angeles Times about his urge to drink.
Prescription Painkillers & Injuries in Professional Ballplayers
Professional athletes are often plagued with injuries and physical pain, with shoulder inquiries being especially common for baseball professionals. Treating sports injuries with prescription painkillers is not unheard of and is often not seen as a problem.
Unfortunately, many of these painkillers are highly addictive and be dangerous even when taken as prescribed. If a prescription painkiller is supposed to be used for 30 days straight, it can make that risk of addiction even greater. When an athlete (or anyone, for that matter) starts to feel better when using them, they can begin to abuse them to feel that “high” all the time.
Taking a Look at the Numbers
Every day, more than 130 individuals in the United States die after overdosing on opioids. The misuse of opioids, including prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids such as fentanyl, is a serious national crisis.
Statistics show that 70,237 drug overdose on opioids deaths occurred in the United States in 2017. In 2017, there were 47,600 opioid-related deaths in the United States alone, compared to 8,048 in 1999. This surge in opioid-related deaths has to do with three main factors:
1) Opioid prescription overkill in the 1990s
2) The heroin surge in 2010
3) Synthetic opioid abuse in 2013.
This crisis may have all started when overprescribing. However, this deadly opioid crisis transitioned from prescription opioids to obtaining heroin on the street to synthetically made fentanyl.
Naloxone Can Save Your Life
In 2018, a California law passed that required physicians to prescribe naloxone when prescribing opioids to patients. Naloxone is a life-saving drug that can be administered to an individual who has overdosed on opioids.
This life-saving medication works to unbind opioids from their receptors resulting in a reversal of symptoms, specifically respiratory depression. Naloxone can be delivered via nasal mist or injection and can temporarily suspend the effects of the overdose on opioids until emergency responders arrive.
The Surgeon General advised that individuals, including family, friends, and those who are personally at risk for an opioid overdose, carry naloxone on hand, in case of an emergency. This new California bill will require more laypeople, who are at risk of overdose on opioid, to carry naloxone on hand, to save lives.
AKUA offers a range of rehabilitation and Recovery Programs. From Detox to Residential and intensive outpatient options, a clinical team works closely with each client to determine the best care for their needs. If you are curious for yourself or a loved one, call 833-258-2669.