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Son of Marion Barry Dies of Mysterious Overdose

marion barry

Marion Christopher Barry, the son of late Washington, D.C. Mayor Marion Barry, passed away on Aug. 14.  He was 36 years old.

The police report states that Barry after smoked a mix of K2 (synthetic cannabis) and PCP, he started “‘acting crazy/different’ and then he suddenly ‘dropped.’” He died several hours later at George Washington University Hospital.

Barry had a history of drug-related run-ins with law enforcement. In 2005, he was charged with assaulting an officer and resisting arrest when police went to a residence to investigate reports of a disturbance. Despite finding bags of what appeared to be cannabis, he wasn’t charged with drug possession.  But a judge ordered Barry to submit to weekly drug tests as a condition of his release. He ended up failing one for traces of marijuana.

In 2011, Barry was sentenced to 18 months probation for possessing PCP and marijuana; he pleaded guilty and avoided prison time. The judge originally sentenced him to six months and 90 days in prison, but suspended the sentence and ordered him into drug counseling instead. It apparently didn’t work

While nobody has ever died as a result of a marijuana overdose, synthetic cannabinoid products like K2 and Spice are another matter. According to data from the CDC, there were 15 deaths caused from synthetic marijuana overdoses in the first half of 2015. Poison control centers received a 229% increase in synthetic cannabinoid calls in 2015 compared to the previous year. Recently, an alarming surge in K2 overdoses made headlines in New York. Unlike cannabis, synthetic marijuana does not show up on drug tests.

marion-christopher-barryHowever, it’s important not to attribute his death to synthetic cannabis. Barry reportedly mixed the K2 with PCP, which makes this a poly-drug overdose. A PCP overdose by itself can result in death. An official cause of Barry’s death has yet to be determined.

The elder Barry (he was Mayor from 1979–1991 and 1995–1999) had his own legal problems with drugs, serving a six-month sentence for possession of crack cocaine. He made an unlikely political comeback as a D.C. City Councilman after doing his jail time.

Christopher Barry also ran for City Council, but lost in 2015.



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