Comedian Kate Quigley recalls seeing three friends die from ‘horrific’ fentanyl overdose

‘He was holding a guitar in his hands. It never crossed my mind he was dead,’ said ‘The Office’ actor

Ellie Harrison
Thursday 19 May 2022 12:05
Kate Quigley discusses fentanyl poisoning in new episode of Red Table Talk

Comedian Kate Quigley has reflected on surviving a fentanyl poisoning that killed three of her friends.

Last September, comics Fuquan Johnson, 42, and Enrico Colangeli, 48, and Natalie Williamson, 33, died from suspected drug overdoses after taking cocaine laced with fentanyl at Quigley’s house in Venice Beach, Los Angeles.

Now, in a new interview on Jada Pinkett Smith’s Facebook show Red Table Talk, Quigley – who has appeared in TV shows The Office and Star Trek: Hidden Frontier – discussed her experience.

Quigley said she started to feel “nauseous” and at around 6am, and she then passed out until the evening, only waking when it was dark.

“I couldn’t feel my legs,” she said. “I went to stand, and that’s when I really realised… and I started to get scared.”

Quigley said she attempted to speak to Colangeli, who “didn’t look dead”.

“I started to say, ‘Hey, Rico, Rico,’” she recalled. “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.”

Quigley said she then rang her uncle, still thinking that “Rico was OK”. She only realised the situation was serious when she threw a shoe at the door next to her friend and he “didn’t wake up”.

The actor said she “started to panic”, adding: “Two minutes later, my uncle walked in and immediately he walked over and he touched him and he was cold, and he called 911.”

Quigley explained that, at this point, she couldn’t see Johnson and Williamson because “my head was on the floor, and they were up on a couch around the corner”.

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“It was horrific,” she said.

She said she had total kidney failure, but believes she lived because she took less drugs than everyone else, adding that they did not know fentanyl was in the cocaine.

Elsewhere in the episode, which is being billed as a potentially “life-saving” Red Table Talk, Michael K Williams’ nephew speaks out about losing his beloved uncle to fentanyl, while the grieving parents of a 15-year-old girl share the story of their daughter who died after taking a counterfeit Percocet.

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin, and is a leading cause of overdose deaths in the US.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that 81,000 people died from drug-related overdoses in the 12 months up to May 2020.

If you or someone you know is suffering from drug addiction, you can seek confidential help and support 24-7 from Frank, by calling 0300 123 6600, texting 82111, sending an email or visiting their website here.

In the US, the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration can be reached at 1-800-662-HELP.

If you have been affected by this article, you can contact the following organisations for support: actiononaddiction.org.uk, mind.org.uk, nhs.uk/livewell/mentalhealth, mentalhealth.org.uk.

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