The family of Texas Longhorns linebacker Jake Ehlinger say the 20-year-old’s death in May was due to an accidental drug overdose.
In a statement sent Thursday, the Ehlinger family says they learned Jake accidentally overdosed May 6 from what’s believed to be the prescription anti-anxiety medication Xanax laced with fentanyl. These kinds of counterfeit pills have been seen increasingly in Texas and nationwide.
The statement read as follows:
“Our hearts are broken, and we are still grieving over the loss of our son and brother, Jake. We have been overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support received since his untimely passing in May. We sincerely thank everyone who has reached out. Today we are sad to share that we have learned that Jake was a victim of an accidental overdose of what was believed to be Xanax laced with toxic drugs including deadly fentanyl. The spread of counterfeit pills is an ongoing and significant issue throughout our country, particularly in schools, colleges and universities. As our family continues to process Jake’s death, we felt it was important to share these details with the hope that Jake will not have died in vain. We pray that sharing Jake’s story will help shed light on this problem and prevent other families from also tragically losing a loved one.”
Jake Ehlinger came to Texas after playing his high school ball at Westlake, and the former two-star prospect hadn’t played the last two seasons. His brother, Sam Ehlinger, was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the sixth round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Ehlinger’s father died back in 2013 while swimming in a triathlon in San Francisco.
Overdoses from Fentanyl are on the rise as drug dealers are putting the drug into tablets resembling Xanax and OxyContin. Fentanyl is an opioid that can be both legally prescribed for conditions like chronic pain and cancer, but it’s also produced illegally for recreational use. The drug is up to 100-times stronger than morphine and can be up to 60 times stronger than heroin, according to the DEA.