Texas LB Jake Ehlinger died from accidental fentanyl overdose, family says

AUSTIN, Texas — University of Texas linebacker Jake Ehlinger died from an accidental drug overdose, his family said Thursday.

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Ehlinger, 20, was found dead off-campus on May 6.

In a statement, Ehlinger’s family said they learned that the linebacker accidentally overdosed after taking what is believed to be Xanax, a prescription anti-anxiety medication, which was laced with toxic drugs, including fentanyl, KVUE reported.

“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,” the family said in a statement. “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.

Fentanyl is an opioid that can be legally prescribed, but is also produced illegally for recreational use, KXAN reported. The drug was created in Belgium in 1960 by Paul Janssen, founder of Janssen Pharmaceutica -- which is now owned by Johnson & Johnson, according to the television station.

>> Texas linebacker Jake Ehlinger found dead off campus, police say

Ehlinger was the brother of former Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger, who was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts earlier this year, KXAN reported. Jake Ehlinger walked on at Texas after graduating from Westlake High School, where he was an honorable mention All-State selection and was named the District 25-6A defensive MVP as a senior, the television station reported.

Jake Ehlinger’s father, Ross Ehlinger, died of a heart attack in 2013 while swimming in a triathlon in San Francisco, ESPN reported.

Jake Ehlinger was a second-year finance student at UT’s McCombs School of Business, a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, and a member of the Texas Silver Spurs student organization, according to KXAN.