Bones Star Heath Freeman's Cause Of Death Explained

Actor Heath Freeman has died at the age of 41. Freeman was known for his recurring role as Howard Epps on the television show "Bones," but he also appeared in "NCIS," "Without a Trace," and "The Closer." His movie roles include "Dark Was the Night," "The Seventh Day" and "12 Mighty Orphans." According to The Hollywood Reporter, Freeman studied at New York University's Tisch School of the Arts and the University of Texas at Austin. His first major role was in 2001 on an episode of "ER," and in 2010, he wrote and directed "Skateland." Just before his death, Freeman finished his work on the film, "Terror on the Prairie," which is expected to be released in June 2022 (via IMDb). 

Freeman was found unresponsive in his home in Nov. 2021, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Initial reports did not include any details, but new findings explain his cause of death.

Heath Freeman overdosed on several drugs

TMZ reports that Freeman died from a fatal overdose as a result of several drugs. The outlet reported that the Travis County medical examiner found fentanyl, cocaine, hydrocodone, oxycodone, and Xanax in his system. Ultimately, his death was ruled an accident. According to the report, Freeman was found in his bed, and police discovered oxycodone and Xanax pills in his home.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that approximately 100,306 deaths resulted from drug overdoses in the U.S. in a year-long period ending in 2021. This is a 28.5% increase from the 78,056 reported deaths in 2020 during the same time period.

While the federal government does not keep records of every death caused by every drug, it does compile information on commonly used drugs. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports that overall, deaths from drug overdoses have been steadily increasing since 1999.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with addiction issues, help is available. Visit the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration website or contact SAMHSA's National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).