Drug Overdose Causes Death at Bonnaroo

A Tennessee medical examiner’s autopsy report made headlines last Friday as it shared new information about the recent Bonnaroo death. It confirms the speculation of many, suggesting a drug overdose as the causality for this very tragic incident. Ryan Dunleavy‘s consumption of MDMA, fentanyl, and clozapine brought about his heartbreaking passing. Examiners are conclusively labeling his death an accident, according to the report. However, information as to how they’re ruling out other possible causes is not yet available.

The festival’s 55% decrease from drug arrests in 2018 seems to indicate increased measures are paying off. Likewise, law enforcement reporting no fentanyl-cut drug seizures by Sunday of the festival is a win against drug overdose. Nevertheless, fentanyl, a drug reportedly 400 times stronger than morphine, likely caused Dunleavy’s demise.

Certainly, the crackdown seems to be making headway within the Bonnaroo gates. This was particularly the case at entry points, accounting for nearly 25% of the drug offense citations. It seems that the issue is reflective of a greater problem facing the region, not just one concentrated at Bonnaroo specifically. This comes as no surprise, since multiple deaths have been seen across the country as a result of fentanyl.

Drug overdose is illustrated by the 
DEA here using pennies to show how powerful Fentanyl really is.

A Bigger Issue Beyond Bonnaroo

Tennessee’s opioid problem apparently stems from a systemic abuse of prescription drugs. As a result of legal measures limiting access to pills, direct abuse of fentanyl has risen. Now, the deadly and easily manufacturable fentanyl is finding its way into recreational drugs as a cutting agent. In fact, it’s overtaking all other drugs as a leading cause for drug overdose in many places.

Notable factors for the spike include possible contamination or even indifference by the drug dealers. In some cases, batches of the highly potent drug passing off as faux ecstasy pills are hitting the streets as well. Accordingly, fentanyl drug overdose continues to rise. Even today with ever-increasing security measures, another life is sadly lost. Clearly, this isn’t a Bonnaroo issue — it’s much larger than that.