CHARLOTTE (QUEEN CITY NEWS) — It’s been only four months since Gwenyth Brown lost her son, Hough High School student Laird Ramirez, in an accidental fentanyl overdose.
Her life hasn’t been the same since.
“I raced over to his friend’s house screaming the entire way in the car, and I got there and raced to the house and raced upstairs and that’s when the paramedics and the cops stopped me,” Brown said. “I was just a zombie after that.”
The amount of fentanyl it takes to kill a person can fit on the tip of a pencil. But already this year, nearly 180 people in Mecklenburg County have died from the lethal weapon, disguised as a pill.
“Two milligrams of fentanyl is considered to be a lethal dose. We’re talking 20mg and 30mg pills that are being sold on the street,” Lt. Robert Sprague explained.
So far this year, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police have seized 75 pounds of the drug. But officers believe that’s just a drop in the bucket compared to what may be out on the streets.
“If there was any question about the dangers of fentanyl overdose in this city, there shouldn’t be any longer,” Lt. Kevin Pietrus said.
Enter the “Street Pills Kill” campaign. It’s messaging targeted at a younger generation. Sayings include, “No cap, those pills are sus,” and “Bruh, did you know overdoses are up 20 percent in Charlotte?”
The program is receiving a less than positive reaction on social media, where some say CMPD is “trying to go viral for all the wrong reasons.”
But Laird Ramirez’s mother is just proud that someone is making an effort.
“At least they’re trying something,” Brown said. “I have been to public presentations where CMS has been represented and the presentation is focused on vaping. Like, guys, the horse is out of the barn and the barn is on fire and you’re talking about vaping.”