Recreational Marijuana Sales Begin In Illinois As Governor Pardons Over 11,000 Residents
Licensed dispensaries in Illinois started to sell recreational marijuana on New Year's Day when the Illinois Cannabis Regulation and Tax Act took effect.
In May 2019, Hannah Brown debuted as the season 15 Bachelorette for ABCs popular reality dating show. She met 30 eligible young men who she would date in hopes of finding one to marry, including Tyler Gwozdz. Gwozdz received his undergraduate degree in Economics from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut and worked in marketing and sales for various alcoholic beverage companies. He went on to pursue his dream of becoming a clinical psychologist by attending Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton. It was in Boca Raton that Tyler Gwozdz would eventually die of an overdose.
Gwozdz had a good start on Brown’s season of the Bachelorette, receiving a rose during the first elimination ceremony, which meant he got to stay in the competition. He made a good impression and got the first one-on-one date with the leading lady. Their date went well, and Brown gave him a rose, meaning she wanted him to remain on the show. By the 3rd episode of the season, Gwozdz had surprisingly left, with Brown stating, “Tyler Gwozdz had to leave, and that’s upsetting, because I really enjoyed my date with him.” There was no explanation of why he left the competition, which is unusual for the Bachelorette franchise.
Some rumors flew around after Gwozdz’s departure on why he left. Some internet sources stated that the producers of the show found out that he had bad behavior in previous relationships and had asked him to leave. It is alleged by Gwozdz’s former classmates that he was aggressive with an ex-girlfriend, getting in shouting matches and spitting on her. However, ABC producers and Gwozdz never confirmed this claim. A few months later, Gwozdz denied the allegations, saying, “Addressing totally unsubstantiated rumors posted to Reddit from an anonymous account seems imprudent. I feel that even addressing them gives them some sort of attention and fuel, but I continue to have faith in my journey and in a purpose for everything that’s happened to me in my life. Above everything else, I am a son to my mother. She raised me to be better than these sort of baseless accusations.” Gwozdz then said that the decision to leave the competition was mutual between him and producers.
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At age 29, Gwozdz was in Boca Raton, Florida in January 2020. On the 13th of January, the local police received a 911 call from a woman saying that her friend had overdosed in her bathroom and was unresponsive. That friend was Gwozdz. The woman began crying, saying, “I can’t get in there! Please send an ambulance.” When the operator asked the woman what Gwozdz had taken, the woman said, “Heroin, I don’t know.” The woman began sobbing frantically as she tried to wake him while the ambulance was on its way. The operator asked her if they had Narcan, which is used to prevent opiate overdose death. The woman said she didn’t know where it was. Nine days later, Gwozdz died in a local hospital.
The autopsy results of Gwozdz’s death are unavailable, but it is suspected that he died of an overdose. His memorial service was held February 1st in his home state of Connecticut. His family said he was a loving big brother, a committed community member, and a dedicated athlete throughout school. The family created the Tyler A. Gwozdz Foundation, which is a charity to increase local awareness on addiction, and to support and finance addiction recovery for those who need it. On the organization’s Go Fund Me page, Gwozdz’s brother said, “In just one week, the Tyler A. Gwozdz Foundation has shown incredible promise. While we know this is just the first step in our journey to support those struggling with opioid addiction, we’re already looking to the future and are enthusiastic about the positive changes we can make.” The producers of The Bachelorette show stated, “We are heartbroken to hear the tragic news of Tyler’s passing today. Our thoughts are with the Gwozdz family and his friends.”
Tyler Gwozdz is not the only Bachelor franchise alumni that has struggled with a substance use disorder. In 2017, former contestant Britt Nilsson said that she was an alcoholic, had an eating disorder, and used cocaine and marijuana throughout college. Meredith Phillips, who was a contestant on the third season of The Bachelor, opened up about her alcoholism, where she used to consume about 20 bottles of wine per week. For many, gaining public attention can make their addiction worse. Currently, the U.S. is in the midst of an opioid epidemic, with opioids being involved in over 67% of drug overdose deaths.
If someone is using heroin or opioid pills, it is important to know the signs of an overdose. They include a loss of consciousness, blue or purple lips and fingernails, a slow or erratic heartbeat, being unresponsive to outside stimulus, being awake but unable to talk, a pale, clammy face, vomiting, choking sounds, and slow, shallow breathing. Abusing opioids is extremely dangerous and if you or someone you know is struggling with an opioid addiction, they should receive life-saving treatment immediately.