Report: Aaron Hernandez was using dangerous drug prior to suicide

Aaron Hernandez in court in 2013. (Getty)
Aaron Hernandez in court in 2013. (Getty)

Aaron Hernandez, the former New England Patriots tight end who committed suicide in prison after being found guilty of first-degree murder, used dangerous prison drugs in the days prior to his suicide. That information was concealed from the public as well as Hernandez’s family and investigators, according to a new report by the Boston Globe.

‘He wasn’t in the right frame of mind’

The Globe series, crafted by the paper’s “Spotlight” team, uncovered redacted information in a 132-page report on Hernandez’s death. An inmate interviewed in the days after Hernandez’s suicide said, “He’s spent the last two days smoking K2 (a prison drug) in his cell and he wasn’t in the right frame of mind.” As the Globe notes, it’s a significant statement because it could bring a new focus to Hernandez’s state of mind as well as the overall state of the prison.

Hernandez’s death came as a shock; five days earlier, he’d been found not guilty in the shooting deaths of two men in Boston in 2012. He was already in prison at the Souza-Baranowski Correctional Center for murdering an associate, Odin Lloyd, in 2013.

Prison officials, however, noted that the information on Hernandez’s drug use was redacted because of an ongoing investigation into drugs at the prison. “A separate investigation was ongoing into suspected drug activity [at the prison],” the report notes. “The section was redacted so as not to compromise that investigation.”

K2, often known as synthetic marijuana, is a combination of pot and multiple other, varying chemicals. Because the chemicals can produce unpredictable reactions, K2 has a range of potentially negative effects. According to the Globe, K2 is a popular prison drug because it’s tough to detect in tests and easy to sneak into jail.

Why does Hernandez remain an interest?

Hernandez was a talented but not legendary tight end, and for a brief time an integral part of the Patriots offense. What makes him a continually fascinating study, the subject of multiple books, documentaries and investigations, is the depth of evil and depravity that clearly pulsed within him as he played on the biggest stage in American sports. While the true depth of his criminality didn’t become known until after Lloyd’s death, Hernandez was the beneficiary of a system that continually covered for him, from high school to college to the pros, and helped him avoid consequences that would have destroyed the careers of lesser players. His brain, examined after his death, also showed signs of CTE, at exactly the time that the medical profession is seeking to determine the effects of football on brain health.

We wonder how this could have happened, we wonder how he could have kept these secrets, and we wonder what else might be out there that we don’t know about. So it’s likely we’ll hear much more about Hernandez for years to come.
Jay Busbee is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Contact him at or find him on Twitter or on Facebook.

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