Autopsy says man at homeless camp died of a combination of fentanyl, meth and kratom intoxication

photo by: John English/special to the Journal-World

The city-run encampment for people experiencing homeless is pictured Nov. 13, 2022, in North Lawrence. At the left outside the fence is an unsanctioned camp.

A man at an unsanctioned homeless camp in North Lawrence died of a combination of fentanyl, methamphetamine and kratom intoxication, according to an autopsy report released Wednesday by the Douglas County coroner.

The man, Anthony Cipollaro, 26, died on Dec. 30, 2022, at a camp next to the city-run campsite at 141 N. Maple St., just behind Johnny’s Tavern North. Witnesses had called for help just before noon, but emergency crews were unable to revive Cipollaro, and he was pronounced dead on the scene, as the Journal-World reported. Police said at the time that no foul play was suspected.

“Based on consideration of the circumstances surrounding the death, review of available medical history/records, an external examination, and toxicological analysis, the death of this 26-year-old male, Anthony Allen Cipollaro, is ascribed to acute fentanyl, methamphetamine, and mitragynine toxicity,” forensic pathologist Julie Schrader wrote in the autopsy report.

Mitragynine is the chemical name for the active ingredient in kratom, a product which is made of the leaves from a tropical tree from Southeast Asia. Kratom can be swallowed in pills or smoked or consumed in a crushed form like tea, according to the DEA.

Cipollaro was found unresponsive in a kneeling position by emergency crews, the autopsy report states. He was last known to be alive a few hours earlier when he was reportedly smoking fentanyl pills with an acquaintance and drug paraphernalia was found at the scene, according to the report.

Cipollaro was the second death in the campsite area within a six-week period. A 53-year-old woman, Susan Ford, was found dead in her tent Nov. 21 at the city-run site. Ford died of a suspected alcohol-related illness and possible drug intoxication and hypothermia, as the Journal-World reported.


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