Grieving mother opens up about 14-year-old son's fentanyl death
Published Tuesday, October 24, 2017 7:38PM EDT
Last Updated Wednesday, October 25, 2017 7:04AM EDT
Zion Williams-Farrell, 14, loved football, his family and was the kind of guy who would share his lunch with a classmate if they forgot theirs at home.
Five months ago, his mother, Jamie Farrell, was put in the gut-wrenching position of trying to resuscitate Zion after he took a pill that a coroner later identified as fentanyl.
“He was lying there, and I was shaking him to get up,” Farrell told CTV Kitchener. “I was trying to push, CPR, just anything, and he was already gone.”
In a tearful interview, Farrell opened up publicly for the first time about the loss of her son, whose death comes as provincial health agencies grapple with the ongoing fentanyl crisis that killed at least 2,468 Canadians last year.
Leafing through family photo albums, Farrell described her son as a funny, smiley teenager who loved nothing more than being on the football field. On rainy days, his mother always gave him the option to stay home from practice.
“He would go,” she said.
The mother said she knew that her son had tried marijuana. But she still doesn’t have any idea as to how he got ahold of the pill that took his life.
Farrell said she thinks her son thought the pill was Xanax. It wasn’t until a coroner called last month that Farrell finally received confirmation.
“To hear him say that it was fentanyl, it broke my heart,” she said. “One decision robbed my son of the rest of his life.”
Fentanyl can come in several forms. When it’s powdered, it’s easy for the deadly drug to be intentionally or unintentionally combined with other substances, according to Staff Sgt. Sloden Lackovic.
“Fentanyl doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t care how old you are. It can affect anybody,” Lackovic said.
Last week, health ministers from across Canada met in Edmonton for a two-day meeting. Opioids were a major subject of conversation, and some ministers discussed the idea of a universal database to help doctors keep opioids out of the wrong hands.
To honour her son’s life, Farrell is hoping to spark an honest conversation about fentanyl through the hashtag #loveforzion. She hopes the campaign can prevent more young lives from being cut short.
“I don’t want another mother to lose a child. I don’t want another sister to lose a brother. I need his name to be used to help.”
With files from CTV Kitchener