Local News

Drug overdoses likely in Raleigh balcony deaths

Posted December 15, 2010 8:33 p.m. EST
Updated December 15, 2010 10:43 p.m. EST

— Two men found dead on a fire escape near downtown Raleigh likely died of a drug overdose, according to autopsy reports released Wednesday.

The findings from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner found lethal doses of the painkiller oxymorphone in the systems of 19-year-old Zachary Martin Tigner and 21-year-old Ray Allan Ausbon.

The two were found Oct. 2 on the second-story balcony of Boylan Apartment Complex.

Raleigh police had suspected a recreational drug called mephedrone in the deaths. Autopsies found that the substance was present in their blood and that it was likely a contributing factor.

According to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, mephedrone – also known as “drone,” “meow-meow,” “bubbles” or “bounce,” – is being increasingly used among young males, ages 15-24, as a recreational drug in the nightclub scene because of its hallucinogenic effects.

It is legal and sold over the Internet, not only as plant food, but also as a research chemical and bath salts, according to the DEA.

The autopsy report also said alprazolam, used to treat anxiety, was a likely factor in their deaths also.

Because Tigner was found partially leaning on a railing, medical examiners could not rule out asphyxiation, saying it is possible his position was because of his underlying intoxication.