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Almost a year after the death of rapper Mac Miller, an L.A. drug dealer named Cameron James Pettit has been arrested for supplying the pills that led to the hip-hop artist’s overdose. On September 7, 2018, Miller was found unresponsive in his Los Angeles home and later pronounced dead at the scene. Police found a number of different drugs associated with Miller’s death, including counterfeit oxycodone that actually contained fentanyl, cocaine, and Xanax. The L.A. County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner ruled that the death was accidental and due to mixed drug toxicity
Pettit is charged with allegedly giving Miller the fake oxycodone pills that led to his overdose, as well as supplying cocaine and Xanax two days before the artist’s death. Investigators believe that Miller snorted the counterfeit Oxy pills that Pettit provided and subsequently died. Fentanyl is a known lethal drug and can cause death with as little as a few micrograms. Pettit was arrested this past week in the Hollywood Hills for his connection to the casualty and is being charged with one count of distributing a controlled substance.
The investigation revealed direct message and text exchanges from Pettit in which he acknowledged he had sold Miller the deadly pills. When discussing the rapper’s death over Instagram DMs, he was quoted saying: “I think I should probably not post anything…just to be smart.” Additionally, when a friend asked how he was doing in the aftermath of Miller’s death going public, he texted back: “I am not great…Most likely I will die in jail.”
If convicted, Pettit faces a sentence of up to 20 years in federal prison.
Born Malcolm James McCormick, the Pittsburgh native rose to fame in 2011 with his debut album Blue Slide Park. Miller struggled with substance abuse for years, and often wrote songs and talked openly about his drug usage and mental health. Miller had always been a frequent user of marijuana, even before his music career had taken off. However, as his fame progressed and his music became more popular, his drug use transitioned into a more dangerous combination of substances.
Miller began using stronger drugs, including codeine and cocaine in combination with alcohol, to help manage the stress and loneliness he experienced while touring. His early career was marked by a heavy dependence on lean – a mixture of promethazine, codeine, fruity hard candy, and sprite.
In May of 2014, Miller released his tenth solo album, Faces. The album discussed his battle with depression and substance abuse, acknowledging the potential dangers of drug use: “A drug habit like Philip Hoffman will probably put me in a coffin.” There were also multiple references throughout the songs to cocaine, codeine cough syrup, and angel dust. Miller admitted to having suicidal thoughts prior to releasing the album. “That was the plan with Faces: [the final song] ‘Grand Finale’ was supposed to be the last song I made on earth.”
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By 2015, Miller had quit the most serious of his drug habits and said in multiple interviews that he was “way healthier” than in the past. However, the rapper admitted that he did still drink, smoke weed, and occasionally used hard-core drugs.
In 2016, he released a 12-minute personal YouTube documentary called Stopped Making Excuses in which he talked candidly about addiction. He explained how the culture of the music industry and his success pushed him to use stronger drugs than simply marijuana: “I needed to get a drug that was a little more numbing, if you will… I think that’s what really sparked me doing other drugs, because I hate being sober.”
Despite his own drug use, Miller was an advocate for mental health and cautioned people to be careful experimenting with drugs. In the same video, Miller described the downside of drug use: “Overdosing is not cool. There’s no legendary romance. You don’t go down in history because you overdosed. You just die.”
In 2018, Miller had started drinking heavily and using hard core drugs again after splitting with ex-girlfriend Ariana Grande, leading to a DUI arrest and other run-ins with the law. His last album, Swimming, mainly focused on the breakup and the ensuing depression and drug use he experienced as a result. He died a little over a month after the album’s release.
Despite Miller’s long history of substance use, Pettit is being cited for his role in the rapper’s death – without the fentanyl-laced counterfeit pills, he could potentially still be alive today. Prosecutors are calling Pettit’s arrest as part of a nationwide crackdown on distributing fentanyl.
Fentanyl disguised as a genuine pharmaceutical is a killer… Drugs laced with cheap and potent fentanyl are increasingly common, and we owe it to the victims and their families to aggressively target the drug dealers that cause these overdose deaths.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80 times more powerful than morphine. It’s one of the deadliest drugs on the market and is the leading cause of accidental overdose deaths, surpassing even heroin. In the past few years alone, fentanyl has killed a number of high profile musicians, including Prince and Tom Petty, both of which died under similar circumstances to Miller.
Prosecutors are hoping that Pettit’s arrest will function as a cautionary tale to deter other dealers from manufacturing and distributing fentanyl. Currently, no court date has been announced for Pettit but is scheduled to be set within the coming months.
Jena Hilliard earned her Bachelor’s of Arts degree from the University of Central Florida in English Literature. She has always had a passion for literature and the written word. Upon graduation, Jena found her purpose in educating the public on addiction and helping those that struggle with substance dependency find the best treatment options available.