Kate Quigley Speaks Out About Fentanyl Poisoning on Red Table Talk: 'It Was Horrific'

The comedian talked about her experience surviving an accidental fentanyl poisoning that killed three of her friends

Kate Quigley is opening up about surviving fentanyl poisoning that killed three of her friends.

"I couldn't feel my legs," the comedian, 40, told the hosts on an upcoming episode of Red Table Talk.

"But I thought they were asleep," she continued. "I went to stand and that's when I really realized."

In a clip shared exclusively with PEOPLE, Quigley spoke out about the night she lost three friends, Fuquan "Fu" Johnson, Enrico Colangeli and Natalie Williamson, to accidental overdoses after allegedly using cocaine that had been laced with fentanyl at a party in Venice, California, in September 2021.

In the clip, Quigley shared that she initially did not realize how serious the situation had become.

"And I started to get scared, and I started to say 'Hey Rico, Rico,' I just thought he fell asleep, he even still had the guitar — he was holding a guitar in his hands. It never crossed my mind he was dead because he didn't look dead."

She said because of her positioning in the room, at that time, she couldn't see Johnson or Williamson.

"I called my uncle, I still thought Rico was okay until I threw a shoe at the door next to him and he didn't wake up," she said. "I started to panic and two minutes later my uncle walked in and immediately he walked over touched him and he was cold and called 911."

She continued, "The rest was, I mean, see this is the part that's hard to talk about for me. It was horrific."

Host Adrienne Banfield Norris then expressed her support for the comedian.

"Three of your friends died," Norris said to Quigley.

"Yeah, it was hard," Quigley said.

On Sept. 11, 2021, days after the accident, Quigley shared on Twitter that she had been released from the hospital and "finally had the time & clarity to put my feelings on paper."

"Thank you to everyone who reached out to me over the past week," she began her Twitter statement. "I feel overwhelmed by the outpouring of kind messages and am incredibly grateful to be surrounded by a strong community of friends, family, colleagues, and fans who have offered their support during this time; and to the team of paramedics, nurses, and doctors who saved my life."

"I am still shocked & devastated by the loss of my friends Fu, Rico, and Natalie," Quigley continued in her statement. "Words cannot describe the pain I am feeling & I will be changed forever by their passings."

Fentanyl overdose as a cause of death has become increasingly common in the U.S. — in just six years, between 2013 and 2019, the rate of overdose deaths from synthetic opioids like fentanyl increased by 12, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

It's a problem that is reflected in a range of demographics, from celebrities like Prince, Tom Petty and Mac Miller, who all died of accidental fentanyl overdoses, to people in rural towns in West Virginia to cities like Boston.

"We've seen a major increase," says Dr. Traci Green, professor and director of the Opioid Policy Research Collective at Brandeis University, told PEOPLE. "Fentanyl has reached into communities where it hadn't ever been before."

Typically, fentanyl overdoses occur when the user believes they're doing heroin or cocaine by itself, but the fast-acting fentanyl is unknowingly mixed in.

"If someone who's used to taking cocaine at parties who does a line of fentanyl or even cocaine that has some fentanyl in it, that can really be the difference between life and death," Green says. "It's compounded because people aren't prepared, and they're not suspecting it."

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