Panelists warn Claremore residents of the dangers of fentanyl, ask that people not try drugs

CLAREMORE, Okla. — Fentanyl is killing people by the thousands.

“It is truly in our communities. People think it’s something in other states. It is here it is right now,” said CEO and Founder of Light of Hope Layla Freeman.

Freeman lost her daughter on Christmas Eve in 2013 from a combination of drugs, fentanyl being one of them.

“My beautiful daughter had such a beautiful future in front of her and the tablet at school is what started it,” said Freeman.

Tuesday, she and a group of panelists poured out their knowledge at Northeast Tech in Claremore in hopes that people would pour out the bottles and not try drugs.

“We have young kids who are thinking they are getting a legit Xanax or oxytocin but that they are actually buying is a fentanyl laced fake pill,” said David King.

David King is the Resident in Charge of the Drug Enforcement Agency in Tulsa. He is teaming with Freeman and Light of Hope which takes the education to schools and events like the one on Tuesday at Northeast Tech which was free and open to the public.

King says his office is seeing more fentanyl than ever before.

“We have seized more fentanyl the last six or eight months than the last three years previously in my office,” King said.

With drugs comes crime.

“Drugs and violence go hand in hand where you see overdose deaths and a high propensity for violence there is going to be drugs in the area,” said King.

It’s something he believes many more people will deal with in the future as they look to arrest the people responsible for distributing the drug.

Why should parents with children who don’t do drugs care?

“Kids make bad choices the stuff out here today is extremely strong overdose amounts in these fake pills, 4 out of 10 pulls we test contain a lethal amount of fentanyl,” said King.

Freeman hopes people take note of what these experts are saying, rather than a pill that could kill them.

“The likelihood of them taking that and it being okay in their system is a Russian roulette. If there is too much fentanyl in that tablet it is instant death,” Freeman said.

Fentanyl continues to be one of the fastest growing killers in the United States.

According to David King, in the last year, on average about 290 people a day are dying from drug overdose and about 66 percent of those deaths are from the synthetic fentanyl. Matt Ballard, District Attorney for Mayes, Craig and Rogers County, spoke at the meeting and says people are being charged with murder for distributing the drug and causing death.