Billy Mays is not alone. This scapegoating of cocaine goes on all the time. One review of 935 cocaine related deaths in New York City found that less than 12% were even possibly related to the pharmacological effects of cocaine. (Morgan, p. 140)
Billy Mays’ family was “extremely disappointed” with the autopsy report of the Hillsborough County medical examiner’s office (Florida). The family’s statement said that the report contained, “speculative conclusions that are frankly unnecessary and tend to obscure the conclusion that Billy suffered from chronic, untreated hypertension, which only demonstrates how important it is to regularly monitor one’s health.”
To see how cocaine was similarly blamed for Ike Turner’s death go to “Cocaine Did Not Kill Ike Turner,” and for a post on the actual deadliness of cocaine go to “Drug War Myth #726,001: Cocaine Is Deadlier Than Aspirin.”
Addendum (October 18, 2009) – An independent medical examiner’s review of the autopsy results made public on October 15, 2009 found they, “do not support the conclusion that cocaine was a contributory cause of Billy`s death.” (Mays)
1. Robert Arthur, You Will Die: The Burden of Modern Taboos (2008).
2. Deborah Mays, “Independent Evaluation Finds that Billy Mays’ Death Was not Attributable to Cocaine Usage,” Reuters, 15 Oct. 2009. LINK
3. John Morgan & Lynn Zimmer, Crack in America (1997).
4. Mitch Stacy, “Billy Mays’ Family: Never Saw Signs of Cocaine Use,” San Francisco Chronicle, 8 Aug. 2009. LINK