Clark County Coroner Mike Murphy ruled yesterday that Danny Gans’ sudden death on May 1 in his Henderson, Nevada home at the age of 52 was accidental caused by acute toxic levels of the prescription painkiller clinically known as hydromorphone. The drug – used to relieve moderate to severe chronic pain – interacted with his other heart and blood disease drugs.
“Mr. Gans’ health conditions placed him at greater risk for heart irregularities, and the hydromorphone was a factor that exacerbated those risks,” said Murphy.
The drug otherwise known as Dilaudid, is a highly addictive opiate nicknamed “drug store heroin” that is two to eight times more potent than morphine and a drug not meant for long-term usage. Drug side effects include high dose tolerance leading to dependence, troubled and slowed breathing, and impairment of mental and physical performance. It is such a potent and powerful central-acting prescription drug that it can’t be called in to the pharmacy like most other drugs, but rather the prescription has to be handwritten and personally delivered.
Some contend that the prescription was not a recent one, rather just an old prescription that Gans kept in his medicine cabinet.
This is also the same drug that was a top favorite of iconic entertainer Elvis Presley, who also died young at 42. Although Dilaudid was not found in the many drugs discovered in Elvis’ system when he died, he was quoted in the book “Elvis: The Final Years,” as telling the wife of Red West, a member of Elvis’ inner circle, “I’ve tried them all, honey, and believe me, Dilaudid is the best.”