Dori: Grieving local mom fighting ‘flood of fentanyl’ pushes Gov. Inslee to do more

Sep 26, 2022, 5:17 PM | Updated: 5:50 pm
Tyler Madden fentanyl grief...
Tyler Madden, 35, passed away earlier this year from fentanyl poisoning. (Courtesy of Melanie Madden)
(Courtesy of Melanie Madden)

After the initial grief she suffered earlier this year following her son’s fentanyl poisoning death, Melanie Madden of Buckley is driven by what she calls her new-found purpose in life.

“I feel like I have a mission to get the message to our lawmakers to do something about the flooding of fentanyl into our country,” she told Dori Monson Show listeners on Monday. “If I can save another family or mom from losing their child – that is my mission.”

But after receiving a generic template-style, auto-response email from Gov. Jay Inslee’s Constituent Services Office in response to an email she sent last week, Madden’s frustration has only deepened, she told Dori.

In her email to the governor, Madden said she described herself as a “parent that lost a child to this terrible disease, and the government isn’t doing anything to address it.”

As an increasing flow of fentanyl comes across the U.S.-Mexico border, Dori pointed out that more families are experiencing the Madden family’s pain. Homeland Security special agent Robert Hammer told Dori last week that the loss of U.S. lives to this drug is the equivalent of a 9/11 disaster every two weeks.

Madden knows this first-hand. She continues to share with other addicts and families of addicts about how her son, Tyler, 35, died in January after an “off and on” battle with drug addiction. His struggle, she said, started during his senior year at White River High School, shortly after his football season ended at the state playoffs.

Madden describes her athletic son as a “quiet and sensitive” young man whose best adult years were a period when he was receiving treatment and supporting other addicts through Pacific Northwest Adult & Teen Challenge Recovery Program. Staying drug-free, she said “was a constant battle. He wanted to be clean and sober. That was always his goal.”

In fact, Madden added, she received a number of comforting letters and emails from Tyler’s friends who received support from him. One, she said, told her that Tyler “saved his life.”

She painfully described – just one day before flying out-of-state with arrangements to check in at a drug treatment program – learning that Tyler was “wandering the streets of Everett” where he was offered fentanyl from an Everett homeless encampment.

“I think he thought ‘I can use one last time because I’m going into treatment,’” Madden told Dori. “He didn’t get one last time. What he thought he was getting was heroin, but it wasn’t.”

Despite what she considers state leaders’ lack of action, Madden said she is not giving up on her quest.

“If I can save another family or mother from losing their child, that’s my mission.”

Listen to Dori Monson weekday afternoons from noon – 3 p.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Dori: Grieving local mom fighting ‘flood of fentanyl’ pushes Gov. Inslee to do more