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The Daily Tar Heel

Death Was Result of Overdose

Officers investigating the case found white powder and a partial tablet of a pill on Daniel Walker's desk.

Walker, who was a senior journalism and economics major, was found dead at at 10:39 a.m. Sept. 7 in his 92 Pine Hill Drive residence.

Thomas Clark III, the associate chief medical examiner handling the Walker case, said a combination of cocaine, alcohol and oxycodone, the main ingredient in OxyContin, found in his system caused his death.

But Clark also added that the levels of each drug detected in Walker's system would have been enough to kill Walker.

"He had enough cocaine in him to kill him, but the combination of the (alcohol and oxycodone) could have killed him too," Clark said.

While investigating Walker's death, officers found some white powder and a partial tablet of a pill on the 20-year-old's desk.

Clark said it is unclear which specific drug or combination of drugs caused Walker's death.

"Either one could have contributed to his death," Clark said.

Clark said it can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of death in cases involving recreational drug use.

"With so many possible causes of death the medical examiner is not able to settle on one single drug as the absolute cause," he said.

"So it is a multiple-drug overdose."

The cause of death report confirms initial toxicology results released Oct. 16 by the Orange County Medical Examiner's Toxicology Lab.

According to the toxicology report, a significant amount of cocaine was detected in Walker's system along with oxycodone.

The report also stated that Walker's blood alcohol level was .10 at the time of his death.

OxyContin is a narcotic used by individuals suffering from long-term moderate to severe pain from cancer or other illnesses, according to the OxyContin Infocenter Web site.

The site also states that mixing alcoholic beverages with OxyContin can lead to serious injury or death.

OxyContin also can be lethal if chewed, crushed, snorted or dissolved in water and injected intravenously, according to the site.

The site also states that the drug has been linked to more than 120 deaths nationwide.

There is a time mechanism in the drug that releases oxycodone into the body during a 12-hour time period.

If the drug is crushed, the time mechanism is destroyed, and the entire dose of oxycodone is released.

The City Editor can be reached at citydesk@unc.edu.

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