HIGH POINT – Guilford County Chief District Court Judge Tom Jarrell died suddenly at age 56 on August 3. Now an autopsy is showing Jarrell died from a lethal dose of heroin and fentanyl, showing the opioid crisis extends even to the bench.
“[…] According to the autopsy released Thursday, Jarrell’s official cause of death was “fentanyl and heroin intoxication.”
The judge was reportedly found unresponsive on the bedroom floor of his home during a welfare check.
Law enforcement found a plastic baggie with a powder substance in his pocket, as well as a pocket knife and a piece of paper containing a powder substance in the bathroom.
His death came after 20 years as a district court judge. He began serving as the chief district court judge three years ago. […]”
The High Point Police Chief Kenneth Shultz issued the following statement:
“With the medical examiner’s confirmation today that Judge Tom Jarrell died from an opioid-related overdose, the High Point Police Department remains committed to working with our law enforcement, health and service partners to address opioid abuse through enforcement, prevention and treatment efforts. From January 1 to October 9, 2019, the High Point Police Department has responded to 209 overdose calls and there have been 18 deaths. Today’s news is another reminder that there is a lot of work left to do on this societal issue.”
As a district court judge, Jarrell likely presided over countless cases related to opioids, yet not immune to whatever forces and course of events led to him fatally abuse such drugs himself. It shows that we never truly know what is going on beneath the surface of a person, even otherwise productive, accomplished people.