It was reported yesterday (but detected only a few hours ago by yours truly) that director George Hickenlooper accidentally offed himself “due to…mixing alcohol and painkillers,” according to an 11.22 story on Denver’s An email received early this morning attributed his passing to “an overdose of ethanol and oxymorphone” killed him; a subsequent message claimed he died “of an overdose of alcohol mixed with a pain killer called Opana, which is a variation of Oxycontin.”

A 3.12.09 N.Y. Press story described Opana as “a powerful painkiller that went on the market less than two years ago [and] is twice as strong as OxyContin, with a potential for addiction that rivals the prescription drug that has ravaged the lives of thousands of abusers.”

I’m sorry but my reaction is one of disappointment. Mixing alcohol with any prescription downer is known the world over to be highly dangerous. If it turns out that Opana was in fact the substance George had in his system, how can the word “reckless” not apply to his mixing that and alcohol?

Hickenlooper was reportedly found dead in an apartment in or near downtown Denver on October 29. The world learned of his passing on Saturday, 10.30. (I had just returned from the mild-mannered Jon Stewart-Stephen Colbert rally in Washington, D.C.) In a statement Colorado governor-elect John Hickenlooper, George’s cousin, said he died of “apparent natural causes.”