The New York City Medical Examiner's Office revealed on Friday that an accidental drug overdose caused the death of actor Michael K. Williams.

According to NBC News, the medical examiner's office has determined that the actor had in his system cocaine, heroin, fentanyl, and p-fluorofentanyl.

In a statement, the medical examiner's office noted that the "acute intoxication by the combined effects of fentanyl, p-fluorofentanyl, heroin and cocaine," was the actor's cause of death. It added that Michael K. Williams' manner of death was accidental.

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Michael K. Williams Death

The New York Police Department said "The Wire" actor was discovered dead by a relative at his Kent Avenue apartment in Brooklyn on September 6. 

Authorities confirmed that the 54-year-old actor was alone when found, and illegal drug paraphernalia was discovered in his residence. 

 Michael K. Williams' longtime representative, Mariana Shafran of Shafran PR, also confirmed his death. The actor died weeks before the 2021 Primetime Emmy Awards, where he was nominated for a category.

Meanwhile, a new mural painting dedicated to Michael K. Williams will be unveiled on Saturday with some of the actor's family in attendance.

Sally Rumble, the artist behind the art, said her inspiration was to "pay homage to a Brooklyn son, artist and activist who touched so many with his art and heart."

The unveiling of the art will take place at Mo's Bar at 80 Lafayette Avenue.

Fentanyl, Opioids, and Drug Overdose

Michael K. Williams was one of the Americans who died from a drug overdose. In 2019, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) revealed that over 70,000 drug overdose death were recorded.

Among the drugs are opioids that were responsible for at least 72.9 percent of overdose deaths. The said drug was also involved in at least 49,860 overdose deaths in 2019.

From 2018 to 2019, the largest increase in death rates involving synthetic opioids occurred in the West.

Meanwhile, fentanyl, which was also found in the actor's system, is a powerful synthetic opioid, similar to morphine. The only difference is that fentanyl is 50 to 100 times more potent.

Although fentanyl can endanger one's health, the said drug is also a prescription drug like morphine. Fentanyl is usually utilized by patients who experience severe pain after surgery. Patients can take them in the form of shots, patches, or lozenges. However, fentanyl is sold illegally in the form of powder. 

Illegal makers of this drug also mix fentanyl with cocaine, MDMA, and methamphetamine to produce a cheaper high.

Since fentanyl is sold illegally, a person can overdose on fentanyl. When this happens, breathing can slow or stop, decreasing the amount of oxygen that flows into the brain. This condition is called hypoxia which can lead to permanent brain damage, coma, and death.

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Written by: Joshua Summers

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