Earlier this summer, American Idol alum Antonella Maria Barba pleaded guilty to possession of the opiate fentanyl with the intent of distribution. On Thursday, the U.S. District Court of Virginia sentenced her to 45 months in prison for the crime. Per CNN, Barba was apprehended by law enforcement in 2008 after New Jersey officers discovered a bag containing a “rock-like white substance" inside of her vehicle. Further examination of the substance determined that it was nearly 900 grams of fentanyl.
Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic opioid that works to relieve pain, making it a very helpful drug for patients dealing with chronic pain that have built up a resistance to other opioids. However, when misused, fentanyl can have fatal consequences; the drug has recently been linked to the tragic deaths of Hollywood stars such as rapper Mac Miller and music icon Prince.
According to Barba's defense team, the 32-year-old turned to selling the drug after her career failed to take off post-American Idol. The aspiring singer competed on the sixth season of the show and even made it into the final 16 before being eliminated from the Fox reality series.
If you are struggling with substance abuse, please call the SAMHSA National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for free and confidential information.