When privacy destroys a reputation

This week, the Ramsey County Medical Examiner issued a news release on the death of Michel Larsen, the local rapper known as Eyedea. It said his death was the result of an accidental overdose that led to “opiate toxicity.”

For reasons of privacy, presumably, nothing more was said. The problem, and the reason I chose not to write about the report, is it says much more, much of which might be in accurate. Much of which is likely to be inaccurate.

Restrictions in the name of privacy have made it open season on Michael Larsen’s reputation.

Opiates? That’s a big range of drugs, some of which are legal, some of which aren’t. “Accidental overdose?” What does that mean?

It could make Larsen anything from a habitual junkie to a guy with bipolar disorder who made the mistake of having a beer with his meds, or a guy who crushed his liver by forgetting whether he even took his meds.

All you have to do is listen to the “fine print” on those TV ads for prescription drugs to understand the range of possibilities.

Yesterday afternoon, his mother issued a statement saying prescription drugs were involved, according to the Star Tribune.


“Mikey was at no time in his life a habitual user or drug addict,” she said. “Many factors played a role in the death of my son, one being a toxic level of prescription drugs.”

Her statement goes on to say: “While this changes nothing, I want people to have a basis for what happened while maintaining some privacy until I am ready to speak further. I trust that anyone reading this will avoid allowing conversations that would in any way desecrate the higher positivity and legacy that Mikey leaves behind.”

Sadly, that won’t happen.