Prescription Overdose Killed Tom Petty
After months of speculation, it was revealed today that rock pioneer Tom Petty died of an accidental overdose. An autopsy found several different prescription drugs in the musician’s body, including a generic version of Xanax, a generic sleep aid, and the opioid painkillers oxycodone and Fentanyl, which has been blamed for the overdose that killed Prince in 2016.
According to a statement released by the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner, Petty's official cause of death was "multisystem organ failure due to resuscitated cardiopulmonary arrest due to mixed drug toxicity.” The singer was originally prescribed the medications for emphysema, knee issues and a fractured hip; Petty was also suffering from coronary artery atherosclerosis. According to family, the hip injury had been plaguing Petty throughout a recent tour with his band, The Heartbreakers.
Musician's Death Shines Spotlight on Opioid Crisis
Petty's wife Dana and daughter Adria are hoping the news will bring even more awareness to the opioid epidemic plaguing the country. The musician joins the millions of Americans who became addicted to opiates after being prescribed the painkillers by a physician.
"As a family, we recognize this report may spark a further discussion on the opioid crisis and we feel that it is a healthy and necessary discussion and we hope in some way this report can save lives," they said in a statement released with the coroner’s report. "Many people who overdose begin with a legitimate injury or simply do not understand the potency and deadly nature of these medications."
Prescription Painkillers Responsible for Over 40% of Overdose Deaths
The high profile overdose deaths of both Petty and Prince bring even more attention to what has been declared a national health emergency; according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 91 Americans die from an opioid overdose every day.