We are a group of families who have gotten that call...who have found our loved one not responding and who have wanted to somehow fight back but didn't know how to.
We've met fentanyl and these are our stories.
*Trigger warning... I absolutely hate having to write this but the human in me wanted to warn you that our stories are upsetting and if you keep reading you might feel emotionally triggered. If it's your bedtime...come back and read our stories tomorrow so you can get some rest tonight.
On Wednesday May 12th, 2021 8:51 AM...My wife Bree & my 4 year old daughter Addie found Zelaya, face down in her bed cold and unresponsive. Bree was instructed to turn her over and attempt to revive her but Zelaya's body was stiff and blue. Frantically trying to revive her, she was shocked in terror because Z’s face was deformed from how she died face down into her pillow. That image of our beautiful girl will forever haunt us. The nightmares, the emotional unrest, the shame and guilt of a parent asking “Where did I fail her?” Z’s red bag being taken away video. We waited for months not knowing how she died until finally we found out fentanyl was in her system. She had half a pill of percocet in her pocket. She died from taking half a pill. Someone she trusted gave her a percocet that had fentanyl in it. Some of her friends knew she was using street percocet but no one thought telling us might save her life. Josh speaking at her funeral… This is how we met the fentanyl crisis. We didn’t realize how big of a problem this is in the US. 106,854 people died from this in 2021. That’s an average of 292 people per day. This killer doesn’t care. Prince, Tom Petty, other famous people…and our Zelaya…fentanyl doesn’t care. The person who made the pills doesn’t care who dies. In some cases the dealers take pride when someone dies from their product. We have to do something. Josh interviews persuasion expert & author of 24 books Dr. Kevin Hogan Help us share these stories. Help us save people.
Sunday May 16th, 2021 9:45 pm There we were… My Husband and I were watching tv and my phone rang. It was an “acquaintance” of my son Brian…not a close friend…he said to me… ”I heard Brian is overdosing, let me give you an address.” I didn’t know what to think. Was this true?! Was this a joke?! Scribbling down the address I hung up the phone. Immediately calling 911…telling the call taker that this information was just given to me and I’m not sure if it’s the truth or not but please go check. We got dressed and drove to that address which was only 7 minutes from our house. We kept thinking this has to be a joke! He’s supposed to be at a concert! As we pulled up we felt the gut wrenching terror… 5 police cars, an ambulance, a fire truck…and Brian’s car. I knew something was terribly wrong. Sprinting to the front door it opened and it was pushed out by a police officer. I screamed, “That’s my SON, IS HE OKAY?!” She said “You can’t go inside and they were working on him.” In complete and utter shock…I just wanted to be with my baby. After waiting outside 20 minutes they told us to follow him in the ambulance to the ER. They put us in the waiting room. My thoughts spinning…he’s going to be fine…he must still be alive… they wouldn’t transport him if he was dead? Then the ER Dr came in with his nurse about 45 minutes later and asked “What was going on with Brian?” I said “I don’t know, he had some struggles in the past and the officer I talked to on scene said something about possible Percocets.” The Dr confirmed that’s what the paramedics told him…that Brian ingested an unknown amount of Percocets. He got quiet for a minute…then looked at us and said, “I’m sorry, but your son has died.” I didn’t even know how to feel at that instant! Total shock and disbelief came over me. He then told us we could see him for as long as we needed. My Husband and I, Brian’s Father and his Wife walked down the hall to the room he was in. He was laying on a stretcher with a blanket covering his bottom half. His arms were tucked in his boxers, his eyes were open, and yellow with broken blood vessels all through them. He still had the intubation tube in his mouth. There was dried blood in his mouth. He was cold and blue. This is not the way any parent should have to see their child. Cold, blue, lifeless, and dead. I cried and held his hand, rubbed his head. I still didn’t even know what to think. I was hoping it was a bad dream I’d wake up from eventually. We said our goodbyes and went home to break the news to my 21 year old daughter, Brian’s sister. We were in complete devastation at this point. We learned pretty quickly what actually took place. Brian and his girlfriend decided to not go to the concert and ended up at a drug dealer's house that he found on Snapchat. They went there to buy Percocet. There were 4 other minor kids and an adult in the home. These kids are known dealers and offenders and are always in trouble. Brian took one pill that he believed was a Percocet and I know he was trying to alleviate his mouth pain. I believe he went into distress a short time after I spoke with him which was after 8 pm. There was a video posted of him on Snapchat. He was dead in the video. They were pouring water on him and smacking his face around. An image I will forever be haunted with. This was posted around 9:30 pm and I got that phone call at 9:45pm. Not one single person in that house, child or adult called for help…they didn’t try to save him. They just went live on Snapchat recording his death. We found out 6 weeks later that his cause of death was acute fentanyl toxicity and his death was ruled accidental. This was no accident! My son was sold a counterfeit pill that he thought was a Percocet and it was fentanyl. The medical examiner told us he had no other opioid in his system and if fentanyl was not present he would still be alive. It’s the worst pain for a family to go through. We should not be burying our children. It’s not supposed to be this way. Brian made a terrible choice that night. We didn’t know about fentanyl. We had many conversations about drugs and hanging around the wrong people…but never about fentanyl. Brian didn’t want to die. He didn’t think he’d never come home again. Fentanyl awareness! Parents and children need to be warned that nothing is safe on the streets. If they’re not getting something from a pharmacy…they’re playing Russian roulette with their lives.
What's our mission? Families Fighting Fentanyl is a diverse network of families, students and leaders working to confront the devistating Fentanyl crisis through reduced harm tactics, awareness strategies & financial support when a loved one has been murdered by Fentanyl poisoning. Fentanyl awareness in every sector of society to create a country free from this injustice.
The Fentanyl Awareness Project aggressively spreads powerful stories and messages about accidental fentanyl poisoning through engaging presentations, live events and online training in schools, churches, special events and community education.
The Funeral Funding Project - Imagine…you suddenly lose your child or spouse to fentanyl poisoning. On top of the crushing emotional pain you have to somehow come up with ten thousand dollars for their funeral and other end of life services. How are you going to do it?
That's where our Funeral Funding Project helps families with sudden end of life costs. We wanted to create a fund that would help alleviate some of the financial burden on families affected by this.
Survivor Scholarship Program is in the very beginning stages. We are looking to help the children left behind from this terrible epidemic. It's bad enough that these children lost a father, a mother or both but now they have to find a way to pay for college without that parents support. We want to help them choose a better future.