Written by Mica Standing Soldier
During Monday’s opening statements in the murder trial of former MPD officer Derek Chauvin, the defense told the jury that George Floyd’s drug use was ultimately to blame for his death. “Put simply, Mr. Floyd could not breathe because he had ingested a lethal dose of fentanyl and, possibly, a speedball," said Defense attorney Eric Nelson.
According to the DEA’s website, “fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine.” One of the primary effects is respiratory depression. This effect is the Defense’s key component to their lethal dose argument, but it’s grossly misconstrued to the facts. The Defense’s proposition raised red flags for many health practitioners. Dr. Susan Hasti, a faculty physician at Hennepin County Medical Center, read Mr. Nelson’s troubling statement in the Star Tribune.
She explained that fentanyl depresses the part of the brain responsible for making a person breathe. Someone who takes a lethal dose of the opioid will become sleepy and lose the urge to bring more air back into their lungs. This is a vital distinction between losing the ability to breathe and losing the will to breathe.
The Defense claims Floyd lost his life because the fentanyl rendered him unable to breathe, but the video evidence proves otherwise. “In George Floyd’s case he was very much feeling the need to breathe. The drive to breathe was fully intact -- a person on an opioid doesn’t notice those things.” If George Floyd administered a lethal dose of fentanyl, he would not have struggled for his life as seen in the globally recognized video of his murder.
“Opioids depress the will to breathe, which is totally counter to what George Floyd was doing. Any doctor on the planet can give you that information.”
You can read Dr. Hasti’s full explanation here.
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