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Traci Campbell, Crystal Cane, and Kerrie Reglan are sharing their stories to prevent future tragedies. | Laura Austin Photos

Fentanyl poisoning claims the lives of many of our youth

By LAURA QUEZADA News Review Staff Writer

On Tuesday, April 9, four brave mothers took to the stage at Freedom Park to spread the word about the dangers of Fentanyl-laced street drugs and to honor the memory of their beloved children. They then marched with supporters carrying signs of love. The event was called “Maddy’s Day! March for the casualties of the Fentanyl Crisis.”

February 9 is the anniversary of Madison (Maddy) Cane’s final day. Her mother, Crystal Cane, tells us that Maddy was distraught. Her father had just died two days before and she considered it her fault. She thinks that Maddy purchased Xanax, an anti-anxiety medication, through someone she knew on Instagram. That’s all it took. One dose of a Fentanyl-laced pill and she was gone. Crystal carried her burden of grief and attended a support group for families who lost their kids to overdose. “I couldn’t really relate because I didn’t have that struggle. So it’s just knowing that my daughter was starting to be labeled a junkie, like she was worthless.” Maddy just wanted to feel better that night.

Four days before the anniversary of Maddy’s death, God told Crystal to do something about it. She called mothers whose children shared the same fate. Karrie Reglan, the mother of Austin Major, responded, “Absolutely. What are we going to do?” They reached out to Traci Campbell, mother of Joshua Rich, and Dawn Petrovich, mother of Rylan Parker. They set to work and had a good turnout for their March.

Fentanyl Gathering image 2
Shay Scott supports Dawn Petrovich as she overflows with emotion when speaking of her son, Rylan Parker. | Laura Austin Photos

These mothers are angry. They are grieving and their feelings are hurt because their children are being stigmatized. Campbell has spent a lot of time in grief support groups. She says, “ I’ve done a lot of parent support groups and all that. I’ve kind of gone a different route with this, and I think it is helping my grief. It’s upwards of 89% of all illicit drugs that are sold on the street. This includes pills you get on the internet, pills that you buy from a dealer, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, and even marijuana; everything is contaminated. The entire illicit street drug scene is contaminated with Fentanyl.”

Campbell took her son Joshua to the Emergency Room on March 8. He was administered Narcan. “ They released him. There’s no person who released them. The police decide if they stay in the hospital.” He went home alive and went to bed. The next morning, between 5 am and 730am, he passed away. Reglan explains, “You are supposed to have care for a long time because it can come back. Narcan is very short-acting; you’ll have to get another dose and another dose and another dose. So you go home, and the Narcan wears off.”

Campbell shared her experience. The night before his death, Joshua Rich told his mother, “Can you believe it, Mom? I’ve been praying, I’ve been praying!”  On the night Joshua died, Campbell recalls the painful events that led up to the realization that her son was gone. “I was jolted awake after only sleeping for about an hour and a half. We had been having a rough night. I saw him from within my room, and he looked so peaceful. I was relieved as I thought he had gotten some sleep.

Joshua Rich
Joshua Rich

That was when I realized he wasn’t making sounds, and his chest wasn’t rising up and down. I started to panic, but as I did, I heard as plane as day, a voice said, ‘It’s ok, Mom, I have him; he’s safe!’ I rushed to his room and noticed the foam around his mouth and that he wasn’t breathing. I started yelling his name over and over, willing him to wake up. I called 9-11 and narcanned him several times, and began CPR, all while the 9-11 operator was on the line. I continued until the Ridgecrest Police, Liberty Ambulance, and the Kern County Fire Department arrived. It was all so traumatizing.  I didn’t feel alone, though;  I remember his face had looked so peaceful as I checked and found he wasn’t breathing and had no pulse.  Initially, I was unsure who the voice I heard say, ‘It’s ok, Mom, I have him; he’s safe!’ but later, I recalled and understood it was Jesus.”

The emergency personnel worked on Joshua for nearly an hour to no avail.  Petrovich, the mother of Rylan Parker, said, “He thought he was safe because he had a history, and he thought he knew what he was doing. We don’t know what we’re doing. You cannot take a pill from anyone, even at a party. ‘Oh, this is an ibuprofen. ‘You can’t because nothing is safe if you get it on the street.” She pleads, “Never judge someone by the fact that they died from fentanyl or whatnot because we don’t know their story. We don’t know what they’re going through and it affects everybody. No one is safe from this.”

Campbell remarks, “And here’s where it’s scary. Back in the day, we experimented. It was something. And it’s not the right thing, but we all did it. They can’t experiment anymore. Because it can lead to death.”

The statistics are staggering. Only 2% of those who get medical assistance for substance use disorder can get clean and stay sober. Seven out of 10 street pills have Fentanyl. Every day, 200 people in the country die from Fentanyl poisoning. Campbell quotes rapper Jelly Roll when he addressed Congress, “ Imagine if a 747 crashed every day in our country, killing 200 people, that’s all you would hear about in the news. But you’re not hearing about this.”

Campbell cautions, “Narcan is a great tool and it’s wonderful that people are learning about it because it is a tool that can help save lives and I am not belittling Narcan, but what I’m saying is it needs to go beyond that where they’re educated because we don’t want kids lulled into a sense of complacency. Well, if I do get Fentanyl, there’s Narcan.” However, if two people are using, who is going to dial 911? “They have found whole parties that I’ve heard about where they’ve walked in and every kid is unconscious.”

Fentanyl gathering
Community members responded in abundance to support victims of poison Fentanyl. | Laura Austin Photos

Kerrie Reglan has done extensive research and created a must-see and read website: https://www.austinmajorshope.com/

She shares Austin’s story, a link to her blog, and most important a link titled “The Race Against Fentanyl” with numerous informative videos. Raglin was invited to Washington by the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) to attend a meeting with about 100 other parents from around the country. According to the DEA, Fentanyl is not a drug, it is poison. Reglan tells us, “They needed to teach us and they said, ‘You guys have to go home. We’re going to teach you the Intel what you need to know’. They said, ‘We have been trying for years to get this information out there. And, you know, it’s our job to report to the administration. And we’ve been doing that and the media won’t publish it. And the administration won’t pay any attention to us. They keep ignoring us.’”

These poisons are an act of terrorism. Reglin learned from the DEA,  “They know that it’s China doing this to destabilize our country and wipe out our youth. So we have no future. We have no military. This is by design to kill the youth and destabilize our country. That’s from an unclassified intelligence report.” You can find an article about this on the Austin Hope website: “China Wages a Drug War” by Capt. Jim Fanell, U.S. Navy (Retired) and William C. Triplett, II. The Fentanyl makes it into the United States via the Mexican Cartel.

Now, these four mothers are on a mission to educate. This has gone far beyond “Don’t take candy from strangers.” Don’t take anything from anybody you know. Only trust a doctor’s prescription. Unfortunately, the women have the experience, the know-how, and the many videos on Austin’s webpage.

Please note that kids aren’t the only ones that need to be aware. Reglan’s law enforcement officer daughter recently administered Narcan to a 71-year-old.