From Wyoming News Exchange newspapers

Fifth fentanyl-related death reported in Campbell County

GILLETTE (WNE) — Fentanyl had a part in yet another death in Campbell County.

Gillette resident Matt Johnson, 37, died of an accidental overdose on May 11.

Campbell County Coroner Paul Wallem said Johnson was found in an apartment in the 1600 block of West Warlow Drive. Johnson was taken to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

A forensic pathologist said the official cause of death was polypharmacy — meaning the simultaneous use of multiple drugs — and alcohol intoxication.

There was a mixture of alcohol, fentanyl and alprazolam, better known as Xanax, in Johnson's system, Wallem said.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.

Pharmaceutical fentanyl is primarily prescribed to manage severe pain, such as with cancer and end-of-life care. Illegally manufactured fentanyl is sold as a powder, dropped onto blotter paper, put in eye droppers and nasal sprays or made into pills. It is often mixed with other drugs, sometimes unbeknownst to the user.

Fentanyl is showing up around the state in the form of fake oxycodone pills.

It is Gillette's fifth fentanyl-related death since December, and the first since February.

Wallem said there is another death he suspects of being related to fentanyl, but he's waiting on the toxicology report to come back. He expects to get the results next week.

Big Piney teen killed in rollover

PINEDALE (WNE) — Tristin Peden, 19, of Big Piney, died Tuesday when the pickup he was driving rolled multiple times, according to the Wyoming Highway Patrol. Peden was heading east on County Road 134, Calpet Road, in Sublette County when the crash occurred shortly before 6 p.m. Peden was driving a 2002 Dodge Dakota pickup at a high speed when it exited the road to the left, according to Wyoming Highway Patrol. He then turned the pickup hard back to the right, where it left the road. Peden turned back in the other direction, which caused the truck to roll multiple times, the report said. The Highway Patrol is investigating speed, driver inattention and cell phone use as possible contributing factors to the crash. Peden was not wearing a seat belt, according to the Highway Patrol.

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