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California teen’s loss of life from fentanyl underscores risks of social media drug markets

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It has been over a yr since Chris and Laura Didier discovered their 17-year-old son, Zach, slumped over his desk inside their residence close to Sacramento, Calif.

Their son “seemed to be asleep, and once I approached him, I knew one thing was horribly fallacious,” dad Chris Didier advised Fox Information, recalling the second when he entered his son’s room on Dec. 27, 2020. 

“I simply felt one thing darkish and one thing empty — and it haunts me,” he mentioned.

Fearing the worst, Didier did what any father would do — he tried to deliver Zach again to consciousness. 

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A former U.S. army service member, Didier used his CPR coaching to attempt to revive Zach whereas shouting out for his different son, Sam, to name 911. 

Medics arrived a short time later and took over the rescue efforts. 

Zach Didier was found slumped over his desk by his father after he had taken a counterfeit Percocet he purchased through Snapchat. The pill turned out to be a lethal dose of Fentanyl. He died at age 17 in December 2020.

Zach Didier was discovered slumped over his desk by his father after he had taken a counterfeit Percocet he bought by way of Snapchat. The capsule turned out to be a deadly dose of Fentanyl. He died at age 17 in December 2020. (Courtesy of Laura and Zach Didier)

It was about 10 minutes later once they realized there was nothing extra they may do for {the teenager}. Dad Chris Didier recalled what occurred subsequent.

“I did not settle for that. I mentioned, ‘That is not acceptable,’” he mentioned. “So, I resumed CPR and I fought as arduous as I might to forestall the loss. And someday later, one of many responders took me away from Zach.” 

The stricken father added, “And that is when it stopped.”

“I do know what fentanyl is, however how does that get into my home?”

Chris Didier mentioned coroners arrived at his residence to look at Zach’s room over the course of a number of hours.

“They mentioned, ‘Chris, it is a actual thriller,’” he mentioned. “’We — clearly, if somebody dies — we need to work out what occurred, if there’s any apparent clues.’”

The investigators advised the Didiers there have been two prospects relating to the reason for Zach’s loss of life: pure causes or fentanyl.

“I do know what fentanyl is, however how does that get into my home?” Chris Didier requested. “My youngster is inside my home. He is not out within the risks of the world. How does he get it into his room? How does it get into his physique?”

Bags of recently seized counterfeit pills made of Fentanyl are shown here, as captured by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Luggage of lately seized counterfeit tablets fabricated from Fentanyl are proven right here, as captured by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. (DEA)

What Chris and Laura quickly realized was that their son had bought what he thought was a Percocet capsule from somebody on Snapchat. As a substitute, he ended up with a counterfeit capsule made up of fentanyl.

“We would by no means heard of counterfeit tablets,” mentioned Zach’s mom, Laura Didier.

“We by no means heard about drug sellers preying on younger folks by way of social media apps. This was not one thing we had any information of, nor did our neighbors or our mates or Zach’s classmates. I imply, we have been all utterly blindsided to be taught that each one of this was taking place.”

“Social media is a quite common platform. You will get no matter you need on social media at any age, and I had no concept that [this] was occurring.”

Each she and her husband have been shocked to be taught that their son, Zach, was capable of receive the contaminated capsule so simply on social media.

“All the opposite mother and father that we knew, all of his soccer workforce, all of these mates — none of us had ever heard of a counterfeit prescription capsule that had solely fentanyl in it because the performing agent,” Chris Didier advised Fox Information. 

“I additionally realized that social media is a quite common platform. You will get no matter you need on social media at any age, and I had no concept that that was occurring.”

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Artificial opioids, primarily illicitly manufactured fentanyl, have develop into the first reason for overdose deaths within the U.S., particularly amongst teenagers. 

Officials have a growing concern that middle school, high school and college-aged kids are being targeted, as criminals make fentanyl pills disguised as Oxycodone, Adderall and Xanax. 

Officers have a rising concern that center faculty, highschool and college-aged youngsters are being focused, as criminals make fentanyl tablets disguised as Oxycodone, Adderall and Xanax.  (Cary Quashen)

Deaths linked to fentanyl amongst adolescents between the ages of 14 and 18 have skyrocketed yr over yr, representing 77% of adolescent deaths amongst teenagers final yr alone, in line with a examine launched in April by the Journal of the American Medical Affiliation (JAMA).

“One-time customers are most definitely to die from it as a result of they don’t have any tolerance, and so they haven’t any thought what they have been taking,” Dr. Olivia Rae Wright, a household medication and adolescent habit specialist in Vancouver, Wash., advised Fox Information.

Surprising report

It was final November that the Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC) launched a surprising report: It indicated that over 100,000 drug overdose deaths within the U.S. occurred through the 12-month interval ending in April 2021. That is a rise of just about 30% from the identical time a yr earlier than. 

Overdoses began to rise when heroin began getting laced with fentanyl as a filler to push out extra product, mentioned one physician.

Three out of each 4 People who died throughout that interval have been killed by artificial opioids, primarily fentanyl — and people numbers are persevering with to rise, pushed partially by the variety of folks like younger Zach Didier who by no means knew what they have been taking.

Dr. Wright mentioned overdoses began to rise when heroin began getting laced with fentanyl as a filler to push out extra product. 

“It was all taking place within the Northeast, and the rationale was as a result of it began out simply being blended with heroin,” she mentioned. “The heroin on the East Coast tended to return from China, and it was in a white powder kind that was very easy to combine [with] fentanyl.”

The Alameda County Sheriff's Office (California) announced on Twitter that its office and the Narcotics Task Force recovered 42,000 grams of illicit fentanyl in Oakland and Hayward.

The Alameda County Sheriff’s Workplace (California) introduced on Twitter that its workplace and the Narcotics Activity Power recovered 42,000 grams of illicit fentanyl in Oakland and Hayward. (Alameda County Sheriff’s Workplace)

Wright added that it wasn’t an issue on the West Coast till the previous 10 years, when manufacturing of a selected kind of heroin referred to as China White slowed down.

“China acquired plenty of stress from the U.S. about this when it first began turning into an issue,” she mentioned. 

“They give up making it as a lot. However what they do is, they ship the precursors [base chemical compounds] to Mexico, and so now it is … distributed in america, and made its approach to the West Coast.” 

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The habit specialist additionally identified, “As soon as prescription opioids weren’t as obtainable, then they [the drug dealers] have been searching for different issues to maintain folks hooked and located that fentanyl was an effective way to do it.” 

Zach's parents, Laura and Chris Didier, said they were completely unaware of how readily available drugs are on social media apps like Snapchat.

Zach’s mother and father, Laura and Chris Didier, mentioned they have been utterly unaware of how available medicine are on social media apps like Snapchat. (Laura and Chris Didier)

She continued, “It began feeding into the availability, being blended with different medicine, after which simply by itself now, and principally in capsule kind.”

Making an attempt to assist others

Since Zach’s loss of life, Laura and Chris Didier have used their expertise to tell different mother and father of the hazards of the counterfeit tablets and the open drug markets on social media.

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“If we had identified about this downside — if we had seen a information report about this or seen a program in our college about this … we might have had this particular dialog,” Laura Didier mentioned.

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She added, “If we might been capable of additionally inform our stunning, vibrant youngster, ‘In the event you ever see one thing on social media, do not imagine the deception. What they’re promoting shouldn’t be what they’re telling you.'”

Concluded this mother, “I simply want we’d have identified that that needed to be a dialog.” 

This text was initially revealed by foxnews.com. Learn the authentic article right here.

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