In his first TV interview since the Sept. 8 death of his only child, former Fox News host Eric Bolling has recalled the final moments with his son, revealing that he saw no signs of opioid use on his watch.
Six weeks after son Eric Chase’s passing, the Boulder County Coroner in Colorado ruled the 19-year-old’s death an accidental overdose. The post-mortem toxicology report, completed on Sept. 11 and obtained by PEOPLE, revealed Eric Chase had cocaine, marijuana, alprazolam (commonly known as Xanax), and the opioid drugs, fentanyl and cyclopropyl fentanyl, in his system.
“I didn’t see any signs. I knew he was going to the University of Colorado, marijuana is legal in Colorado, not at his age but it’s still legal and very accessible,” Bolling, 54, told Law & Crime Network’s Totally B.S. host Bill Stanton on Friday, sharing that he was last in Colorado with his son, who was studying economics, in June for Father’s Day.
“When he was in high school, he drank and sometimes you’d smell some weed in the basement,” the grieving father recalled. “We had a thousand talks about the dangers of hard drugs. A thousand talks. And he’d always say, ‘Dad, I got this. Dad, I got this.’ “
Adding, “The last week or so, maybe the last two weeks, his behavior changed pretty dramatically. He was in Colorado, he stayed for the summer, he was supposed to be going to summer school. He dropped out, didn’t tell me. And it was over the span of two weeks, he hooked up with some, you know – the wrong people, who were pushing the wrong stuff on him and it changed his life very quickly.”
Fentanyl, the same drug that also killed music icons Prince and Tom Petty, is classified as a Schedule II drug by the federal government and its medical uses are typically pain management following surgery or for chronic pain. Cyclopropyl fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is chemically similar to fentanyl but is not intended for human or animal use. Fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin, up to 100 times stronger than morphine.
“There was no indication. [Eric Chase] had a phenomenal freshman year at Colorado. His grades were fantastic. He came home, he hung out with his old friends, there was nothing that would have said he’s going down the wrong path,” Bolling said.
“I don’t even know. I mean the coroner said it was an opioid, fentanyl overdose that Xanax was laced with it. I don’t know if it was the first time, I don’t know if it was the 10th time. I have no way of knowing. He’s gone. His friends don’t obviously want to talk because they just don’t want to be involved in any of this,” the former anchor stated.
Since 2000, the number of deaths from opioids — which includes painkillers and heroin — in the U.S. has risen more than 137 percent, according to TIME.
“[Eric Chase] bought Xanax from someone. It was a street Xanax. Turns out it was laced with Fentanyl. What maybe people don’t realize is that Fentanyl is a drug that they use for last-stage cancer victims typically when the pain is so overwhelming,” stressed Bolling who recently met with President Donald Trump at the White House to discuss the opioid epidemic in the country.
“What happened was, apparently what goes on, and I’m learning this on the fly, this is five months now. Dealers will purposefully lace, distribute some drugs with Fentanyl because it’s such a massive, strong dose that people say, ‘Hey, that guy’s got good Xanax or that guy’s got good heroin,’ ” Bolling said.
“People will die and that doesn’t even scare off people buying from those dealers. People actually flocked to the dealers who had an opioid death because their stuff is so strong,” he said.
The sad news of Eric Chase’s death came hours after news broke that Bolling, who anchored Fox News’ Cashin’ In. and also co-hosted Fox News Specialists and The Five, had been removed from his job at Fox News following allegations that he harassed colleagues.