Anderson’s cause of death determined

Medical examiner rules death a result of accidental drug overdose

Editor’s Note: For additional information on Anderson’s cause of death, and a statement from MIT, see The Tech’s April 6 article.

Brian G. Anderson ’13 died of accidental “acute opiate intoxication with cardiac enlargement contributory,” the Mass. Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said yesterday.

The medical examiner’s office could not release any additional information, citing Mass. privacy laws, according to Terrel Harris, an office spokesman.

Opiates include oxycodone, heroin, Vicodin, codeine, and morphine, among many others. There is no information about what drug in particular might have caused Anderson’s death.

Anderson, a management major and wrestling team member from Redwood Falls, Minn., was found dead in his Next House dormitory room on Feb. 20. He was 21 years old.

His enlarged heart was unlikely to be a result of short- or long-term drug abuse, according to Dr. Piotr A. Kubiczek, assistant chief medical examiner for the Reno, Nev. area. It would take several years of prolonged drug abuse to lead to an enlarged heart, Kubiczek said. Rather, an enlarged heart can result from any number of unrelated medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or congenital illnesses.

Cardiac infections that commonly result from short-term intravenous drug abuse would be noted differently on the death certificate, he added.

Kubiczek said that the manner of death as “accident” is determined by police and other investigations, as well as from autopsy information.

The wrestling team does not test for drugs, according to team captain Samuel W. Shames ’14. All varsity sports at MIT must abide by NCAA rules, which state that students should be ready for a drug test at any time. Wrestling, however, is a club sport and does not have the same rules.

The City of Cambridge Clerk‘s office confirmed the cause of death and listed the date of the determination as March 14, 2012.

Cambridge had an average of one opiate-related death per year in the 15–24 age group between 2004 and 2006, according to the latest data available.

The Cambridge police could not release additional information; MIT Police could not release information on the status of their investigation, and the MIT News Office declined to comment. Both MIT entities are waiting for a copy of the death certificate.

Members of the community who feel affected by Anderson’s death are encouraged to contact Mental Health Services at 617-253-2916, or talk to their housemasters or GRTs.