Fentanyl still killing our favourite artists

Malcolm James McCormick a.k.a. Mac Miller. Photo by J. Emilio Flores

Mac Miller should be remembered for his honesty and talent – not his death

Mac Miller shouldn’t be the subject of your addiction jokes. Following the arrest of Cameron James Pettit on Sept. 4, Twitter came to life as fans lauded the arrest, while others took this as a golden opportunity to mock drug addiction and its victims.

Arresting one dealer won’t actually change anything, though. While Petitt may or may not have been complicit in lacing the drugs given to Miller, the problem lies in the production and overall distribution of fentanyl-laced drugs. On Aug. 29, the largest federal fentanyl and heroin seizure in Delaware took place with authorities finding more than 14,000 counterfeit oxycodone pills. Even if Pettit never sold drugs, someone else would have taken his place and sold the laced drugs regardless.

Still, even with an obvious crisis at hand, people make light of addiction claiming that the simple solution is to ‘stop taking drugs.’ Like many things, it isn’t that easy.

YouTuber Shawn Cee wrote a lengthy series of tweets detailing how his brief stint in the hospital for lung surgery nearly killed him because of a nurse’s misuse of prescription drugs. He also explained how, upon his release, he saw numerous dealers outside the hospital looking to sell cheap counterfeit prescription drugs to patients. These patients believe the prescribed amount of medication isn’t enough for them to feel their effects, so they look for cheaper alternatives elsewhere.

Miller was transparent about his drug use, making it clear that he craved the high on songs like “Jet Fuel” off his last full-length album, Swimming. The entire project saw a depressed and struggling Miller trying to cope with his mental illness through the use of alcohol and drugs, but at no point did it ever come across as a suicidal album. He never alluded to taking his own life. Despite being a somber LP, Miller sprinkled it with hope all across its 13 tracks.

Mac Miller was afflicted with addiction, but make no mistake, it was fentanyl that killed him. The incredibly strong and potent drug only requires small amounts to take a person’s life. In the United States especially, the government has struggled to keep up with this crisis. Without proper universal healthcare and a lack of necessary tools available to test drugs, the problem is only getting worse and more widespread as Canada is also experiencing a crisis of our own.

Fentanyl is arguably the most dangerous drug available right now – and it’s often not known when it’s being consumed as a dangerous additive. In fact, the Canadian government warns that the fentanyl test strips aren’t 100 per cent conclusive and that test results should be taken with a grain of salt.

As the one year anniversary of Mac Miller’s haunting death approaches, it is more important than ever to understand that fentanyl is one of the biggest drug related issues plaguing North America. While fentanyl addiction is necessarily the culprit, addiction to drugs such as cocaine, xanax and oxycodone opens the door for many accidental overdoses to occur.

If you struggle with addiction, please visit https://www.canada.ca/en/health-canada/services/substance-use/get-help/get-help-problematic-substance-use.html for more info on how to get help.

Additionally, Naloxone, Fentanyl’s antidote, is available in many Quebec pharmacies for free.


Photo by J. Emilio Flores

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