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Father warns kids after son’s ‘horrifying’ fentanyl overdose

Fentanyl continues to be one of the leading causes behind the region's opioid crisis. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

The father of an Seattle high school student — who died from counterfeit pain pills with fentanyl — is speaking out. Peter Toms says his son, Jasper, was going to be a junior at north Seattle’s Ingraham High school this year.

But he died after taking a pill laced with fentanyl at an “end of the summer” party.

“He was a happy kid and he was looking forward to school, but he was partying, and unbeknownst to his mom or I, he took a combination of substances, one of which was counterfeit pill,” Toms said. “He thought it was a Percocet that he was taking … it was a counterfeit pill, it was not Percocet at all. In fact it was Benzodiazepine, which is Xanax and fentanyl.”

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Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is sometimes mixed with other street drugs. It is far more potent that regular heroin and has led to surges in overdoses and opioid-related deaths in recent years. The Washington State Department of Health reports that at least 70 people died from overdoes after using fentanyl in 2016. That was up from the 28 deaths recorded in 2015.

“This is horrifying; this is not part of the plan,” Toms said. “I actually found him later that evening when I came home and unfortunately he had passed away earlier that morning and was gone by the time I came back, so I found him that way.”

“You miss your kid, you miss your family member. This is someone you see everyday and talk to, and you laugh with and eat dinner with and yell at and get mad at and just everything … and all of sudden that person is gone, and there’s this enormous void, there’s this great big hole in our lives where Jasper was once there. Not an hour goes by that I don’t think about him.”

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Toms says he want to spread the word about the danger and is urging teens to speak up if they seen their friends taking pills.

“There are some poisonous pills that are circulating on the street in Seattle. They say M30 on them, they’re light blue in color, and people need to not take them because they are not what they think they are,” he said. “There’s a bunch a fake pills circulating around that kids are buying and taking, and it’s literally like Russian roulette. Some pills have a lethal dose of fentanyl and some don’t.”

But it’s not just parents that need to take precautions — he wants the kids themselves to look out for each other as well.

“If one of you is taking too many drugs or taking too many risks, the kids need to have the courage to stand up and say something. They need to look out for each other,” he said. “They have to stand up and say, ‘This kid’s in trouble’ and do something about it, because if they don’t, we have a dead kid.”

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