MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Drug overdoses are killing more Americans than at any time in history.
After losing their 22-year-old son, a Minnesota family is turning the pain into a message that they hope will save lives.
Sawyer Post, of Waconia, made a mistake while drinking with friends last October when he tried Percocet, a prescription painkiller.
“The Percocet itself was laced with fentanyl, and some of the boys got sick,” said Sawyer’s mother, Kris Post. “Unfortunately, it took my son’s life.”
She says her son’s death weighs on her heart every day.
Tragically, she’s not alone in her pain. New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that 2021 was a record-setting year for drug overdose deaths in the U.S. There were more than 107,000 overdose deaths with about two-thirds of those involving fentanyl or another synthetic opioid.
The Minnesota Department of Health says fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin, and just a few grains of it can kill you.
“We got to figure this thing out and fight for this,” Post said.
The Posts are trying to spread a message they call “Be The Shepherd.” Post says with the rise of Ubers and Lyfts, the concept of the “designated driver” has fallen by the wayside.
She’s advocating for young people to go out with someone sober who can not only react if something bad happens, but help the group make smarter decisions in the first place.
“We think we’re more invincible than we are when we’re under the influence,” Post said.
She says her son was a kind and loving person with a great sense of humor.
“I don’t want this to happen to anybody else,” she said.
Dana Farley with Minnesota’s Drug Overdose Prevention Unit says more than half of Minnesota’s overdoses happen with another person there.
The Minnesota Department of Health has a locator on its website for Narcan, an opioid treatment to be used in emergencies. Click here for more information.