One Beverlywood mother, Juli Shamash, has turned the unimaginable tragedy of losing her son Tyler into a tireless pursuit of activism to make sure everyone is aware of the horrors of an accidental Fentanyl overdose. Tyler died when he was only 19 years old and living in a sober living house. According to the CDC, Fentanyl is now involved in more deaths of those aged 15-24 than all other drugs combined. Fentanyl, considered 80-100 times stronger than morphine, extremely cheap and highly addictive, is currently being slipped into everything from pills to heroin, cocaine and even marijuana. Dealers are targeting our children on Snapchat, Instagram, Craig’s List and are so brazen they are often coming to our homes to deliver in person.

Through community outreach and her nonprofit organization MomsAgainstDrugs. com, Juli is hoping to make parents aware that this insidious and harmful drug is easily accessible and to caution them to be extra vigilant to prevent another tragedy from happening. She suggests parents follow their kids on social media, money exchanging sites (Venmo, ApplePay) and have access to their phones/devices. The only way Juli was able to hunt down and get her son’s dealer arrested and sentenced to federal prison was because she had the passcode to Tyler’s phone. Juli didn’t think her child would accidentally overdose and steadfastly believes that if it could happen to her, it can happen to anyone. She implores you to talk to your friends and children about the danger of this sneaky, highly addictive and lethal drug. Juli never would’ve imagined her life would have taken this turn but if sharing what happened to Tyler can help prevent another parent from losing his/her child, it doesn’t take away her tremendous pain but it does mean something positive can come from such a terrible tragedy.

By Ben Lee