Cocaine and Fentanyl Don’t Discriminate When They Kill

Athlete.  Drug user.  Casualty.

Cocaine and fentanyl are a deadly mix. And in the case of Jimmy Hayes, we are reminded that it has no boundaries and does not discriminate when it kills.

Jimmy Hayes, by all accounts, was an All-American boy, growing up with a passion for hockey. He played in youth leagues, played in the USA Hockey National Team Development Program, played 117 games for the Boston College Eagles, and spent eight years in the National Hockey League. And punctuating this Boston native’s story with a hometown exclamation point, he joined the Boston Bruins in 2015.

He did not fit the profile of a drug user. But he died of a drug overdose.

An image of NHL player Jimmy Hayes who died from cocaine and fentanyl overdose.

The rate of overdose deaths attributed to cocaine laced with a synthetic opioid such as fentanyl increased faster in recent years than did overdose deaths from purely cocaine.

Centers for Disease Control

As a party drug, cocaine has few rivals and this makes it an especially attractive product for drug distributors. Equally important, it is a product that can be easily and inexpensively augmented with fentanyl. Consequently, the distributor gets more mileage from a kilo while still delivering the high users look for. However, users get two things they may not bargain on.  First, that high is coming from a highly addictive addition to an already addictive drug. And second, a fatal encounter is a real possibility. For example, data collected in Hayes’ home state of Massachusetts underscores the rising tide of deaths involving stimulants and opioids. In a word-the fentanyl and cocain combination is unpredictable on a good day and potentially fatal on another. And that is precisely what happened to Jimmy Hayes.

Noted for his kind demeanor, eagerness to promote his sport to kids, and frequent visits to hospital wards to lighten others’ days, Hayes’ life was truly a model for others.

Then he died of a cocaine and fentanyl overdose.

Deaths by drug overdose span generations, classes, and demographics.

Read Jimmy Hayes’ story at the link below.