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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – During the pandemic, a silent epidemic has been ripping apart families and killing teenagers and young adults in their 20s. Police and families in Chesterfield tell FOX 2 drug overdoses have become a huge problem.

A west St. Louis County high school teacher who didn’t want to be identified brought this to our attention. She sent FOX 2 a Facebook message saying:

I’ve been a teacher for 20 years and I’ve never been so scared for my students and it has nothing to do with COVID. Yesterday I lost another former student to a fentanyl overdose. In October two former students…who were lifelong best friends died from a fentanyl overdose. It’s the time of year where teachers should be celebrating surviving teaching during COVID, but instead I’ll be going to another funeral.

FOX 2 contacted the mother of the 20-year-old Caleb Haralson, who died on Dec. 16, 2020. Caleb would have turned 21 last week.

Gina Haralson found her son dead in his bedroom from what is likely fentanyl. Gina and other parents who have lost children to drug overdoses say the pandemic has made this problem worse. They say drugs are easy to get in west county and they’re cheap. Dealers come to neighborhoods. They mix fentanyl with heroin and the results are often deadly.

Chesterfield police report 21 overdoses this year, up from 16 last year in the city limits. They range from 15 to 66 years old.

A father who lost his daughter to a fentanyl overdose launched Know More Inc. to help parents going through an addiction crisis with their children.