SAN DIEGO — Tyler Skaggs’ sad legacy will cover more than just opioid addiction.
The former Angels pitcher’s grisly death earlier this year initiated conversations that led to changes in baseball’s Joint Drug Program, as announced Thursday by Major League Baseball and the Players Association. The program, initially designed to prevent players from using illegal performance enhancers — and to discipline those who strayed — will now test urine and blood samples for “Opioids, Fentanyl, Cocaine, and Synthetic THC (among other Drugs of Abuse),” per the press release, and prioritize treatment over punishment.
Skaggs was found dead in his Dallas-area hotel room on July 1, during an Angels visit to the Texas Rangers. A toxicology report later determined that the pitcher, who was 27, died of an accidental overdose from a mix of alcohol, fentanyl and oxycodone.
“Players are overwhelmingly in favor of expanding our drug-testing regimen to include opioids, and want to take a leadership role in helping to resolve this national epidemic,” Players Association executive director Tony Clark said in a statement.
The presence of cocaine is especially notable given how…