Former child star Adam Rich died from accidental fentanyl overdose, medical examiner says

 June 26, 2023

The cause of death for former Eight is Enough child star Adam Rich in January was ruled to be a fentanyl overdose, according to his publicist who told Entertainment Weekly about it recently. 

"It was an accidental overdose of fentanyl," publicist Danny Deraney said. "The alcohol found in his system was produced by organs following his death. That is according to the doctor who performed the autopsy."

Rich's death at age 54 was ruled an accident by the medical examiner.

Rich had a previous history of drug abuse, including an arrest in 1991 for trying to steal morphine from a pharmacy and another one later that year for taking a syringe from the hospital while receiving treatment.

Sober for 7 years

He tweeted in October that he had been sober for seven years following several stints in rehab and overdoses.

"The family and I are relieved that our assumptions were correct in that he was not using any hard drugs, which initial reports suggested," Deraney told EW. "Unfortunately, Adam becomes another statistic to our broader fentanyl problem."

Fentanyl now is responsible for more than half of the overdoses in the U.S., the National Center for Drug Abuse Statistics said.

In 2021, the lethal synthetic opioid caused 67,325 preventable deaths, a 26 percent increase from 2020's 53,480 preventable deaths, according to the National Safety Council.

Besides his drug abuse problems, Rich was also open about his mental health struggles.

Rich's career

He played the youngest child, Nicholas Bradford, in Eight is Enough, from the age of eight through the 1970s, and in two movies based on the show after it ended.

He acted in other shows through the 1980s and early 90s, including Fantasy Island, CHiPs, Small Wonder, Dungeons & Dragons, and Code Red.

He took a 10-year hiatus from acting in 1993, coming back in 2003 to play himself in Dickie Roberts: Former Child Star.

"Adam did not have an ounce of ego. He was unselfish and always looked out for those he cared about. Which is why many people who grew up with him feel a part of their childhood gone, and sad today," Delaney said when Rich died."He really was America's Little Brother."

"If you knew Adam, you just loved the guy," he added, thanking the public for reaching out at the time of his death.

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