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Hear from local former addicts, current addicts, and families affected by fentanyl.

I remember the last time my son Tyler overdosed. I had found him on the streets the night before. He was high and I had learned by then that if I found him high, he would get into any car, even mine.  I remember the next morning. I had washed the rank clothes he had been wearing on the streets. I took the clean clothes out to the cabin where he was.

When I walked in, it was dark. As I walked across the small room to put the clothes on the table, out of the corner of my eye, I saw my son sitting on the floor in front of the couch. As I put down the clothes, I saw as clear as daylight the cows I had seen over thirty years ago that had been killed by a tornado. Their bodies were twisted up and stiffened in such unnatural positions.

My heart exploded in my chest as I turned and yelled my son's name with no response. I then could see that his arm was over his head and bent at the elbow. His leg was bent backwards at the knee. His back was folded forward, his chest on the floor. His body was as stiff as concrete, and He was not breathing!! I had no phone in the cabin, and I ran back to my house to get my phone and call 911. I didn’t think I was capable of running anymore, but I ran that day.

The operator told me to lay him down flat, but I couldn't because of how stiff his back was. As I was trying to lift him, to lay him down, I accidentally dropped him. When I dropped him, I heard a loud unnatural breath from him, so that is what I did. I kept lifting him and dropping him, and every drop caused another loud breath from him.  While I was lifting and dropping my mind was screaming at me “how can he survive this?”, in between the operator counting his breaths out loud I begged her to please make them hurry. I silently prayed over and over, “God please give my body the strength to keep him breathing”, after 15 minutes when I lifted him, his back relaxed, and I was able to lay him down. As I was laying him down, his arm and leg relaxed and I was ready to start CPR, and that’s when the paramedics came through the door and got me outside.

I called his older brothers at their jobs and told them they had to get home now, my legs buckled underneath me, and I collapsed. When I saw him in the hospital, he was conscious, and slowly eating a sandwich they had given him. His doctor was bluntly telling him how close to death he was when I found him and how if I hadn’t have done what I did he would be dead right now.

While the doctor was saying what Tyler needed to hear, I was looking at his eyes. I knew that look and it devastated me. I had fought that look with every breath I took for over a year and failed to conquer it every time. That look meant he didn’t even hear the doctor; he was consumed with how to get more drugs. I knew then he would be dead soon and that I had failed to save my son. I couldn’t imagine how I was going to have the strength to survive his death, let alone help his brothers to survive it. I was completely defeated. What an F4 tornado did to those cows, Fake Fentanyl had done to my son, and he didn’t even know it.

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