April 3, 2021 – As the COVID-19 pandemic spread across the United States, Floyd, the father of two young daughters, started using again: he lost his job as a nightclub security guard because of quarantine shutdowns, he was hospitalized for several days after an overdose, he found out he had the coronavirus. On the day he died, his neck trapped under the knee of former Minnesota police officer Derek Chauvin for more than nine minutes, he had fentanyl and methamphetamine in his system, toxicology reports later showed.  “We got addicted and tried really hard to break that addiction many times,” Ross said tearfully Thursday during testimony in the Chauvin trial over Floyd’s death. 

Floyd’s death helped launch a global civil rights movement over racial injustice and police violence. The trial over his death could similarly shape how Americans view drug addiction at a time when Black people continue to overwhelmingly be denied medical treatment compared to white Americans even as they suffer from disproportionately high rates of fatal opioid overdoses. 



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