CYPRESS, Texas - Teenagers are dying due to fentanyl poisoning at an alarming rate. The numbers are going up so much, the Drug Enforcement Agency of Houston is cracking down to try to stop the increased deaths.
The number is said to have tripled this year nationwide compared to last year.
"Oh my God I miss his hugs. I miss touching his face. I just miss hearing his voice," cries Kim Gillihan. In August her son, Joshua Gillihan, a smart, loving, funny kid, was one week into his freshman year of high school and just 14-years-old when he died at his Cypress home from fentanyl poisoning.
"Right in our home, right with me right downstairs. It just breaks my heart. The reason I’m doing this is to try to save others," says the mom in mourning.
In fact, his mother wants youngsters to know pills aren’t anything to play with. Some may find the video disturbing, but Mrs. Gillihan wanted the footage shown. It’s a home surveillance video of the last time her only child left their home. He was wheeled out on a stretcher after it’s believed he took a pill that he thought was Percocet or Oxycodone, but it was laced with deadly fentanyl.
"We had to do five in vitro fertilizations to even get him, and you just never dream something like this can happen to you. There is no high, there is no anything that is worth your life. If you mess around with it at all or long enough it is going to catch up with you," says Gillihan.
So many kids are dying from fentanyl poisoning that the Houston DEA caseload to crackdown on dealers and manufacturers is also drastically increasing.
"Man, you just can’t do it. It’s not worth playing Russian roulette with your life for one night of fun," explained Houston DEA Special Agent in Charge Daniel Comeaux. "They have to understand. This can kill you immediately. The thing that everyone needs to know, the numbers are going up. We have to stop them."
"Right now my office is working approximately ten poisoning overdose cases, which is a significant number to be working at one time. Anyone in that line from the person who manufactured it to the person who sold it, who caused the death can get 20 years incarceration," says Comeaux.
"I want to live in his honor and I don’t want him to die in vain. So it is my mission to try to do anything I can to try to get the word out. I really do feel like we’re in a race right now to get the word out that you have to take this seriously. Polar Express was his favorite Christmas movie. We watched that every year, and I’ll never get to do that again," says Mrs. Gillihan.