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San Diego State student died of prescription medication overdose

A 20-year-old San Diego State University student found dead at a fraternity after a party died of an accidental overdose of what are commonly prescribed medicines, the county medical examiner ruled Thursday.

Barzeen Barzanji, found dead April 20 at the Phi Kappa Theta fraternity, died of acute intoxication from oxycodone and alprazolam, according to toxicology tests. The former is commonly prescribed for pain; the latter (brand name Xanax) for anxiety disorder and panic attacks.

Barzanji and a cousin had attended a party at the fraternity. The next morning he was found unresponsive in a bedroom at the fraternity house

After his death, university officials suspended Phi Kappa Theta pending a determination of how
Barzanji died. Any activities during the suspension "must be completely alcohol- and drug-free," officials ordered.

The suspension was lifted this week when university officials were told that there was no apparent connection between the fraternity and Barzanji's death, a university spokeswoman said Thursday after the medical examiner report was released.

Barzanji, a criminal justice major, was president of Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity.

The announcement of Barzanji's cause of death comes just weeks after the medical examiner released the office's annual report, showing 267 prescription drug overdose deaths in 2011, compared to 242 deaths due to automobile accidents.

Since 2007, the number of prescription drug overdose deaths in one year has increased 27%, the report said.

 

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-- Tony Perry in San Diego

 
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