A British IT exec died from a fentanyl overdose during a trip to Disney World in Florida with his wife and young son, a UK court has heard.
Philip Weybourne, the 40-year-old Middle East director of Excis Compliance Limited, died on just the third day of his family vacation in May, a hearing into the cause of his death was told.
He went out drinking alone after what his wife, Dorlyn, described as “a relaxing day” drinking champagne during “the best lunch,” according to the Times of London on Sunday.
Just two hours after Weybourne went to a bar in Disney’s Yacht Club that night, someone came to his family’s hotel room to tell them he’d been raced to a hospital in Celebration.
“I asked them if it was heat stroke or a heart attack,” his wife told the Kent court in a statement, the UK paper said.
Weybourne was already dead by the time his wife made it to the hospital, and doctors initially said he died of cardiac arrest.
However, a post-mortem examination showed he’d actually had fatal levels of fentanyl in his system.
“This must have been very difficult and distressing for Mr. Weybourne’s family,” assistant coroner Catherine Wood told the hearing.
“I don’t know the circumstances that led up to his death as Mr. Weybourne died in another country,” the official said.
However, Weybourne “had no underlying health issues and I am content, after the findings of the autopsy, that his death was caused by fatal levels of fentanyl.”
Weybourne’s family said after the inquest that they did not wish to comment further. “We spoke about Philip’s life at his funeral. It is time for closure,” they told the UK Times.
The synthetic opioid is up to 50 times stronger than heroin, and a dose of only 2 milligrams — the size of two grains of rice — can prove fatal.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 71,000 Americans died of fentanyl overdoses last year — almost 195 a day — by far the biggest cause of the overall 107,622 fatal overdoses.
Drug Enforcement Administration Administrator Anne Milgram has called it “the single deadliest drug threat our nation has ever encountered.”
“Fentanyl is everywhere. … no community is safe from this poison.”