The Chauvin Defense? New Research Shows Alarming Increase In Fentanyl Abuse and Deaths

As the trial of former police officer Derek Chauvin starts in Minneapolis, much of the trial will focus on the role of fentanyl in the body of George Floyd as the possible cause for his death. Notably, a new study in the last week reinforces prior research showing an alarming increase in the abuse of this powerful drug and deaths associated from it.  In some counties, there was an almost 75% increase in the first half of 2020 in fatal drug overdoses with fentanyl as the main culprit.

While Floyd denied using drugs, he later said he was “hooping,” or taking drugs. That was confirmed in the autopsy which found that Floyd died from “cardiopulmonary arrest while being restrained by law enforcement officer(s).” The state’s criminal complaint against Chauvin said the autopsy “revealed no physical findings that support a diagnosis of traumatic asphyxia or strangulation. Mr. Floyd had underlying health conditions including coronary artery disease and hypertensive heart disease.” He also was COVID-19 positive.

Andrew Baker, Hennepin County’s chief medical examiner, strongly suggested that the primary cause was a huge amount of fentanyl in Floyd’s system: “Fentanyl at 11 ng/ml — this is higher than (a) chronic pain patient. If he were found dead at home alone & no other apparent causes, this could be acceptable to call an OD (overdose). Deaths have been certified w/levels of 3.” Baker also told investigators that the autopsy revealed no physical evidence suggesting Floyd died of asphyxiation. The toxicology report on Floyd’s blood also noted that “in fatalities from fentanyl, blood concentrations are variable and have been reported as low as 3 ng/ml.” Floyd had almost four times the level of fentanyl considered potentially lethal.

That level of fentanyl will be tied to Floyd complaining about being unable to breathe. Floyd stated that he could not breathe while sitting in the police cruiser and before he was ever restrained on the ground. That is consistent with the level of fentanyl in his system that can cause “slowed or stopped breathing.”

Notably, the report shows that Floyd had both fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system. That is the combination discussed in the recent study (and past studies) as a commonly lethal combination.

The new Quest study shows that lethal overdoses overwhelmingly involve combinations with fentanyl, particularly methamphetamine: “Most overdose deaths involving opioids such as fentanyl also involve concurrent use of benzodiazepines, cocaine, or methamphetamine.”

The expert testimony on such combinations will be the key to the trial of Chauvin. Much turns on the result. Indeed, there is a real danger of a cascading failure of all four cases if the jury hangs or acquits.

As I have previously noted, the role of fentanyl does not mean that Chauvin has an insurmountable defense. It makes this a stronger manslaughter than murder case. However, Floyd was clearly in distress and one of the other officers suggested moving him (which Chauvin countermanded). That could still constitute manslaughter if Chauvin knew or should have known that his knee restraint was endangering Floyd’s life.

88 thoughts on “The Chauvin Defense? New Research Shows Alarming Increase In Fentanyl Abuse and Deaths”

  1. Though unusual, the State will impeach the Autopsy Report of the M.E. Dr. Baker.

    It fails to credibly assign a cause of death, lamely stating instead a symptom of death (cardiac arrest) as a cause. This evasion might even be proven purposeful, in order to try to exonerate the 4 officers involved in a critical use-of-force incident.

    In essence, Dr. Baker’s initial report tried unsuccessfuly to float a false narrative that Floyd died of a heart attack. Had this been the cause, he would be expected to have photos of the heart showing an arterial occlusion (source of infarc) and the necrosis of heart tissue that had its blood supply cut off. In reality, there was no evidence of a coronary thrombosis. Floyd did not die of a heart attack.

    The M.E.s report is also attempting a deception by pointing out that there were no signs of asphixiation. That’s an outright lie. Floyd’s blood workup showed advanced acidosis, a potentially lethal buildup of carbonic acid, which indicates inability to exhale carbon dioxide, which indicates inability of the lungs to function. Even if an airway mechanical asphixiation did not occur, other forms of asphixia did occur. It was dishonest of the M.E. to to rule out other causes by waving the “no signs of asphixia” wand.

    I believe the State will challenge the evasions and deceptions of the M.E.’s report, with the suggestion that these were made to help the police officers escape accountability for the way Mr. Floyd was restrained while unconscious, and restrained in a prone position counterindicated for respiratory function.

  2. On the Africa comment. That was in the mid to south area. Further north they sold slaves taken from other tribes to Muslims who sold them to Northern Democrats who sold them to Southern Democrats who engaged in the first price fixing by counting the slaves as 2/3rds human. So how does that make Biden and Harris any different from the Democrats in their act as Socialists.

    1. “engaged in the first price fixing by counting the slaves as 2/3rds human.” This is a modern misconception, mischaracterizing the “3/5 compromise,” which was used to limit the influence of slave states on national law. Representation allotted according to a State’s population, counting slaves as citizens, yielded disproportionate political power to slave states. Counting slaves as 3//5 of a person was a pragmatic compromise, and one further step toward slavery being abolished in the United States.

  3. Standardized overdose levels are for text books. Truth is, there are people in ER’s all the time with off the chart intoxication levels who walk around fully conscious, while others hit a supposedly lethal dose and cooperate by dying.

    Look, you can see where this trial is going as the defense tries to blame fentanyl for Floyd’s death. Thing is, there is a reason why, in a group of people nodding on opiates that the standard test of the circulatory system to see how far an o.d. has set in >> and that’s pressing the fingernails. If circulation is really slow you drop your friend at the E.R. or get them a narcan shot. This state is also accompanied by drifting off into unconsciousness. In other words, if Floyd was truly o.d. ing he wouldn’t be saying out loud he couldn’t breathe in response to Chauvin’s knee on his neck.

    At best, Chauvin greatly enhanced a Floyd overdose by choking him as he was going through it. Manslaughter, minimally. At worst, Chauvin tortured someone before eventually murdering him.


    1. “Standardized overdose levels are for text books. “

      Bug is providing his fractured fairy tales. Overdose doesn’t necessarily mean death. He is confusing death and overdose. Experts have a pretty good idea of how much Fentanyl generally kills. Floyd was at that level and the symptoms he had along with the amount of fluid in his lungs helps prove that point.

      Bug is acting like an expert without the necessary training. In other words fiction prevails.


      1. At what point exactly did I actually say overdose equals death? I mean, in actual words rather than what you heard in your head?

        Even funnier is that, yes, what I said about people having different reactions to standardized levels of drug toxicity is an observation borne of experience and doesn’t necessarily equate with a widely accepted scientific reality. It doesn’t mean it’s not true, and it further suggests doing some research about what realistically occurs from time to time in emergency rooms everywhere.

        And best, your pointing out that O.D. doesn’t necessarily mean death further clarifies Chauvin’s negligence and ill intent. If overdose was suspected Floyd should’ve been given an opiate reversal shot and rescue care. Minimally. But instead, Chauvin intensified the kneeling submission he had on Floyd several times…, not the actions of a cop who suspects an overdose which is about to kill someone.

        Allan, you don’t have to buy every stupid excuse Fox throws out there. Fly. Be free. Have a mind of your own.


        1. “At what point exactly did I actually say overdose equals death? I mean, in actual words rather than what you heard in your head?”

          Bug, you chose your words, not I and in your choice you make pretenses based on your wording. You don’t have the facts to go along with what you wish to believe so pretense is your only hope.

          Fact and proof is what you lack. Present that and then we can talk.


    2. A serious problem with opiate drugs is that use desensitizes the body to them as far as both the desired effect and the danger of ceasing breathing..

      Sure 3ng/ml can kill a non-user but users build up a tolerance and need ever increasing doses both for desired effect and to kill them. Also the levels measured post-mortem may be higher than the levels when alive.

      I would question how many people can survive 8 minutes of oxygen deprivation in the brain from a heavy bloke kneeling on the arteries or veins in the neck. Maybe volunteers will come forward from the fentanyl death theorists for a test.

      1. Carlyle, I understand what you are trying to point out and those are valid points, but “ The lethal dose of fentanyl is generally stated to be 2 milligrams. “

        That is a far shot from what was seen in his system. One can work the numbers in all sorts of ways but his number was so high one quickly recognizes that the dosage he had was likely deadly especially with all the other things circulating in his blood.

        The question is since the man took drugs all the time, one might assume he knew how to limit his dose. Then again he was under drugs and about 70,000 people died of drug overdoses this past year. Why did he take the drugs? He was being arrested and somewhere there was a picture that seemed to show that instead of getting caught with drugs he put them in his mouth (need more confirmation). That means he took a lot more than intended.

        The pathology report doesn’t bear out the other questions being raised, but it did show a lot of fluid in his lungs which is how overdosed people die.

        One question I have no answer to is whether the paramedics on the scene gave him Naloxone. If they didn’t then does that mean they didn’t recognize the drug overdose? If they didn’t recognize that what else didn’t they recognize? I heard from another on the blog they didn’t try resuscitation at the site and took him some blocks away. If true why did they do it that way? That isn’t the procedure. Naloxone is easy to administer and in some places is carried by the police. Do Minnesota police Naloxone? If not, why not? Is their police training inadequate? Are they telling their officers the wrong things to do?

        It seems a lot of stuff being claimed that may not or didn’t exist. But no one wants to look at the other side of the coin which is necessary for justice to be had.

        ” kneeling on the arteries or veins in the neck.”

        There is no proof Chauvin obstructed the carotid arteries with his knee. Do you have that proof?

  4. As I have explained in the past, and will explain here again, Prof. Turley pretends that he knows the facts of the Chauvin case, when he knows very little. Nowhere does Prof. Turley even mention the crucial fact that Floyd’s lungs were more than twice normal size because they were inflated with fluid. This physical reality prevented Floyd from getting sufficient oxygen, and ultimately lead to his death. And the reason for the fluid filled lungs was from the overdose of fentanyl. Until Prof. Turley grasps and repeats this basic fact, and demonstrates that he now understands this fact, he should shut up about the case. At a bare minimum, if he continues to choose to remain ignorant of the facts, but wants to continue to write about the case, Prof. Turley should have a disclosure at the beginning of each article that states: “I know little to nothing about the facts. All statements and opinions herein are based on my ignorance of the subjects discussed.”

  5. 237 : 0


    No person died from the neck restraining tactic employed by Minneapolis Police.

    George Floyd killed himself by persisting in an unsustainable life style and engendering probable cause.

    African tribal chiefs caused slavery in the British colonies by selling their countrymen, acquaintances and relatives.

    Get real, folks.

    Math is universal.

    Math doesn’t lie.

    “Minneapolis Police Used Neck Restraints 237 Times, Left 44 People Unconscious Since 2015, Records Show”

    Minneapolis Police Department officers have used neck restraints to subdue at least 237 people since 2015, according to an NBC News report published on Monday. The report, which analyzed Minneapolis police records dating back roughly five years, also found that officers’ use of the disarming restraint tactic caused subjects to lose consciousness in 44 of those instances.

    – Newsweek

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