When Los Angeles Angels pitcher Tyler Skaggs passed away in July due to a combination of Fentanyl, alcohol, and oxycodone, it was announced that there would be three separate investigations into the incident. After multiple months, there are more details being revealed about Skaggs' death. Specifically, a member of the Angels' public relations team has provided details to the DEA about the pitcher's history of drug use. He also said that the team had prior knowledge.
According to ESPN, Eric Kay, the Angels' director of communications, told the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration agents that there are potentially five other players on the team who he believed were using opiates during their stints with the Angels. Kay's attorney, Michael Molfetta, confirmed the details of the statements, which were given in separate meetings with DEA agents in Dallas and Los Angeles in late September.
Skaggs died in Southlake, Texas on July 1 from choking on his own vomit in a hotel room at the age of 27. His autopsy, which was released on Aug. 30, showed evidence of fentanyl, oxycodone, and alcohol in his system.
The story by ESPN says that DEA agents learned of oxycodone exchanges between Kay and Skaggs due to text messages between the two. As Kay explained, per sources, he had provided oxycodone to Skaggs and abused it with him for years.
Kay also told investigators that he had illegally obtained a half-dozen oxycodone pills and given three of them to Skaggs prior to the road trip to Texas for games against the Rangers. However, Kay did say to DEA agents that he doesn't think that the pills he obtained were the ones that were in the pitcher's system on the day he died, according to two sources close to the situation.
The reason for this belief is that Skaggs reportedly would ingest the pills immediately after receiving them from Kay. Additionally, sources told ESPN that Skaggs had texted Kay on the day the team left for Texas, asking for more pills.
Sources told ESPN that Kay actually visited Skaggs in his Southlake hotel room hours prior to his death. He had reportedly received a text saying to come visit the pitcher.
Upon his arrival, Kay reportedly watched Skaggs snort three lines of crushed opioids in front of him, per ESPN's sources. Kay reportedly told investigators that two of the lines could have been crushed oxycodone, but the third was something he didn't recognize.
Following his statements to the DEA, Kay is currently in outpatient treatment for substance abuse and has been placed on paid leave from the team.
As to the reports that Kay had previously told two team officials about Skaggs' opioid use, the Angels have denied these claims.
"I have had a lot of conversations with Eric Kay about a lot of things, but opioids and Tyler Skaggs were not one of them," Tim Mead, the former vice president of communications, said to Outside the Lines. Although Kay's mother, Sandy, said to Outside the Lines that she told Mead that the team needed to get Skaggs off her son's back. This conversation reportedly took place in April when Kay was recovering from an overdose and received texts from Skaggs about obtaining more opioids.
Additionally, Angels team spokesperson Marie Garvey said that the second official also denied knowing of Skaggs' reported drug use.
"We are shocked to hear these reports. ... We had no prior knowledge of Tyler or any other member of the Angels organization having abused opioids or any narcotic and continue to work with law enforcement to get answers."
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