LINCOLN COUNTY, Tenn. (WHNT) – Fentanyl is a powerful and deadly synthetic drug. According to a recent study, there are more opioid deaths than gun deaths or car accidents in major cities.
Fentanyl deaths in smaller communities have skyrocketed in recent months, and mothers in Fayetteville, Tenn. say children are dying in those communities as well.
Terri Myers and Tammie Elkins have formed a bond for life. It’s a bond that was created through tragedy. A bond over the loss of their sons to fentanyl, that, in recent years, has shown no mercy.
Myers lost her son Andrew to an overdose after using opioids he picked up from a street sale. However, it wasn’t the opioid itself that killed him. It was fentanyl that the pill was laced with.
“That’s what makes it so hard, because as a parent we knew he was doing badly when he went to college, but we thought it was more alcohol and partying,” Myers explained. “He would be here today if it wasn’t for the fentanyl.”
Andrew, according to his mother, was an athlete, a good student in school and in his community. Myers said that sometime during his senior year in college her son just stopped going to school.
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“We would see his therapist with him, but his therapist didn’t recognize that he was using drugs. His therapist thought he was bipolar,” said Myers. “We found out that he was doing heroin and so that really shocked me, of course, and my husband.”
Meyers and Elkins both lost their sons on the same exact date — December 31, 2017 — to overdoses involving fentanyl. Together they formed a support group called OD Hope, a space for parents who’ve lost their children to the same tragic circumstance as they lost theirs.
“We met each other in a separate parent group and found out that we only lived twenty minutes apart. We walked through the pain and the grief of losing a child together,” said Myers.
According to Fayetteville City Chief of Police Barry Pendergraft, nearly every street drug is now laced in fentanyl, including fake prescription pills and marijuana.
“The people who are manufacturing the pills for street sales don’t have the lab facilities to see that it’s an equal amount of fentanyl that they are mixing in each tablet,” Pendergraft told News 19. “Somebody may get a hot tablet, or somebody may get a tablet that hasn’t got that much in it. But then they take two tablets, and everything is fine, but they come back for more on the third day and then they die.”
Last year Immigration Enforcement Agents reportedly seized over 50 million fentanyl-laced pills and reportedly over 10 thousand pounds of fentanyl powder. According to agents, that is enough supply to kill every American.