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Bias Died While Free-Basing, Says Medical Examiner

July 09, 1986|United Press International

BALTIMORE — University of Maryland basketball star Len Bias smoked free-based cocaine in the seconds before he collapsed and died, the state medical examiner's office reported today.

Dr. Dennis Smyth, an assistant medical examiner, said the redness of Bias' windpipe and the congestion in the mucous membrane in his throat indicated that Bias had been smoking cocaine.

Bias collapsed in his dormitory room about 6:30 a.m. on June 19 and died about two hours later. Authorities had said earlier they believed he snorted the drug.

Smyth said ether, which is used in free-basing to reduce cocaine to its base, gaseous form, was not found in Bias' body during an autopsy. "But it would not necessarily be found," he said.

Smyth said Bias had 6.5 milligrams per liter of cocaine in his system, a concentration of the drug that could not be attained through snorting.

A water pipe, which is often used when free-basing cocaine, was found in a dumpster behind the dormitory where Bias collapsed.

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