FERGUSON, Mo. – A room full of grieving families gathered Thursday at St. Louis Community College in Florissant Valley, all in an effort to work with St. Louis’ DEA division to combat powdered fentanyl overdose deaths.
The Drug Enforcement Administration looks to a new course of action as powdered fentanyl not only plagues the streets, but is also making way into St. Louis-area schools.
Last month, during the DEA’s division summit, special agent Michael Davis informed us of new statistics in the St. Louis metro. On average, seven out of every 10 pills sold over the table now contain fentanyl here in the area.
Davis says a surge in overdoses and seizures is what’s forcing the need for a new course of action. He says the region could surpass 1,000 deaths by the end of the year.
“We’re seeing record numbers of powdered fentanyl and fake pills, and these are pills that look like legitimate prescription pills,” said Davis.
The DEA’s office and local prosecuting attorney’s offices are now working together to strategize a more comprehensive approach to prosecuting these cases.
Among those who attended Thursday was Dawn Carpenter, seeking answers after she lost her 18-year-old son to an overdose.
“He had multiple surgeries in high school, one for a torn labrum in his shoulder and an emergency appendectomy,” said Carpenter. “Both followed with prescription pain medicine. I will never know if that’s what led him to seek opioids.”
She described her son, Stone Carpenter, as an adventurous high school student who resorted to a new way of self-medicating back in 2021. He sought percocets through Snapchat, which led him to fentanyl.
The DEA Summit was intended to share information and spread awareness to families affected by fentanyl overdoses.
“It’s getting into the schools,” said Davis. “We bring in families who suffered a loss, a loss of a loved one due to drug poisoning.”
Carpenter, who lost her son before his planned high school graduation, says it’s important to educate others on fentanyl and its deadly impacts.
“Learn about it before it touches your lives in a horrible way,” said Carpenter.
“I think we’re on the very beginning of the cusp of change.”