The investigation into rapper Lil Peep‘s death is now focused on whether the powerful opioid fentanyl may have played a role in the rapper/singer’s demise. The incredibly lethal synthetic anesthetic — which is 100 times more powerful than morphine and much more potent than heroin — is often mixed into batches of drugs to increase their potency, mostly without the user’s knowledge.
According to Tucson Police Department spokesperson Officer Chris Hawkins, police in Tucson are following several leads after receiving “multiple tips” that Peep, 21, might have been in possession of illegal prescription drugs laced with the potent opioid. “Detectives were initially investigating whether any foul play was involved, as they do with any death, especially suspicious deaths when a young person is killed,” Hawkins tells Billboard. “Detectives are also looking into what kinds of drugs he ingested and what was in those drugs, especially since illegal prescription drugs often contain fentanyl, so it wouldn’t surprise me to see if there was some fentanyl in there.”
Given the amount of fentanyl that’s been found in black market prescription drugs in the Tucson area, Hawkins says investigators will try to determine what drugs were in Peep’s system at the time of his death, how he obtained those drugs and if there were other people involved in supplying them. “Some people have reached out with tips about where the drugs may have come from or how he came in contact with them,” Hawkins says, adding that it’s not confirmed that fentanyl was a factor and that officials won’t know until the results of the toxicology tests are returned in several weeks.
The drug, which was linked to the deaths of both Prince and Eric Chase Bolling Jr., is known to kill in very small doses.
Peep (born Gustav Ahr), was found dead on his tour bus in Tucson on Nov. 15 from what authorities believe was an overdose of the anti-anxiety drug Xanax; at press time no official cause of death has been announced. Ahr became a social media sensation thanks to a string of emotional songs often referenced drug use, depression and suicide, subjects the singer appeared to reference in a series of dark Instagram posts to his 1.2 million followers in the days leading up to his death. In one, he claimed to have consumed six Xanax, with another showing him trying to drop an unidentified pill into his mouth several times before successfully swallowing one and shaking a prescription bottle that appears full of pills. Another post featured the chilling caption “When I die, you’ll love me.”