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Cocaine played role in SF Public Defender Jeff Adachi’s death: reports

SAN FRANCISCO — A lethal combination of cocaine and alcohol caused the death of beloved San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi last month, according to media reports.
Heart disease also played a role, reported KGO-TV , this news organization’s media partner.
“The cause of death is acute mixed drug toxicity with cocaine and ethanol, with hypertensive atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease as a contributing factor,” the San Francisco Medical Examiner concluded in a cause and manner of death report obtained by the station.
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San Francisco Public Defender Jeff Adachi dead at 59, police investigating cause

Adachi, a noted police watchdog and vocal advocate for bail reform, died Feb. 22. He was 59.
Adachi was dining in North Beach when he began to have trouble breathing, the Public Defender’s Office said in a statement following his death. Medical officials were reportedly called to an apartment on Telegraph Place in San Francisco, and Adachi was taken to California Pacific Medical Center’s Pacific Campus, where he was pronounced dead.
According to KGO-TV, a woman listed only as “Catalina” told investigators she and Adachi spent the day together, ate some cannabis edibles and had a “glass or two of champagne” with dinner. Adachi, she said, ate well before complaining of severe stomach pain.
Catalina used Adachi’s phone to call 911 and his friend Susie Kurtz, the news station reported.
According to the cause and manner of death report, “At some point, most likely during the dinner, his already compromised heart could no longer sustain the amount of cardiac stress caused by these stimulant substances and became ischemic with death resulting a few hours later.”
The son of Japanese-Americans who were interned during World War II, Adachi brought an activist spirit to his work as the state’s only elected public defender, where he oversaw the representation of more than 23,000 people each year who are charged with misdemeanor and felony offenses.
“I see the public defender as being not only a watchdog but the only watchdog to guard against misconduct by police, prosecutors and judges,” Adachi said in a 2017 interview with the Bay Area News Group. “If you have zealous representation, that’s the best protector against abuse.”
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