Author: Eric Wilkinson
Published: 5:47 PM PDT August 13, 2021
MOUNT VERNON, Wash. — A grieving mother in Mount Vernon is declaring her own personal war on drugs after losing her son to a fentanyl overdose. She is rallying other families and they're taking their concerns to Washington D.C. later this month.
Carol's son, Trey, broke his leg at a skate park in Mount Vernon in 2017. He aggravated the injury months later but his doctor wouldn't prescribe painkillers. Instead, in agonizing pain, Trey turned somewhere else for relief.
The 27-year-old ended up buying what he thought was Percocet off the street.
"He told a friend of his he was going to take a Percocet and go to bed. That was it," said Carol, who asked KING 5 to withhold her last name for privacy concerns.
It turned out the pill wasn't Percocet. It was a counterfeit pill disguised to look like Percocet but contained a lethal amount of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine.
Trey never woke up after taking the pill, and his family was blindsided.
"A part of you dies. The rest of you that's alive is broken. You have to learn to live like that, and it's a life sentence," Carol said.
Carol soon learned most of the fentanyl sold on the street comes from unregulated labs in China. The raw materials are sent to Mexican drug cartels where they're processed into pills and smuggled to the states.
More than 93,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2020, most of them from fentanyl.
Carol said social media apps like Snapchat are being used to peddle the deadly drug to kids everywhere. Parents have launched protests at the company's California headquarters.
"Our children are a tiny fraction of those who lost their life and will continue to lose their lives every day thanks to that drug dealer storefront known as Snapchat," said one protest organizer.
Derek Maltz, former special agent in charge for the Drug Enforcement Administration's Special Operations Division, said he is joining Carol's crusade.
"We have fentanyl murders and fentanyl poisonings throughout America like we've never seen in the history of the country," said Maltz.
Maltz said he believes political pressure from the White House needs to be put on China to shut down the rogue labs.
As for the cartels, Maltz said, "We could shut down the money flowing back to Mexico. We could designate them as terrorists and if we do that we can use some powerful capabilities to go after their lab operation."
Carol's first step in her battle is telling people about the dangers of fentanyl. She's also pushing to include fentanyl education in school health curricula.
"Fentanyl changes everything," she said.
Carol and hundreds more are planning to hold a protest Aug. 27 at the Chinese Embassy in Washington, D.C. to demand action.
"Kids are dying left and right," said Carol. "Families are continuing today to be shocked and traumatized and blindsided as we were over three years ago. It's not right."