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Father shares story of losing son to fentanyl as Clay County takes action against distribution

Local father loses son to fentanyl as Clay County takes action against distributors
Posted at 6:43 AM, May 22, 2024

LIBERTY, Mo. — Fentanyl has been responsible for killing thousands of people each year. It's a drug that doesn't discriminate, and one father knows that all too well.

Ethan Everley would have been walking graduation this week, but two years ago, he was a victim of fentanyl after taking Percocet that was laced with the deadly drug.

His father, Brandon Everley, said it was enough to take his son's life.

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“It was a small amount that he took, but at some point, he had stopped breathing, and that caused him to have massive brain damage," Everley said.

Everley said he hopes no other family has to endure the same feeling.

“Well, any time a parent loses a child, it's the worst thing in the world," he said. "It's a club that no one wants to be part of. And it changes your life."

After an increase in fentanyl overdoses in Clay County, the sheriff's office began a new initiative last summer.

“One of our major focuses right now is on the fentanyl epidemic and the narcotics crisis currently in the Northland," said Sgt. Neil Hessenflow.

From 2017 to 2021, the county saw a 50% increase in fatal overdoses.

"We've been successful in the initiative since we've begun," he said. "We've been able to shut down seven drug houses this year alone, working in tandem with our drug task force within the sheriff's office."

Hessenflow said the crisis is impacting teens. While the county hopes to tackle the issue, the sheriff's office said it's important for parents to educate their children.

“We're doing what we can within our purview, but each family member needs to be aware of what's happening within their own household," Hessenflow said. "Educate yourself on fentanyl, what it looks like, what the dangers are and take the opportunity to talk to your kids about it."

With more lives being taken at such a rapid rate, Everley said this initiative is needed in the community.

"That's a good thing because this is something that needs to be addressed," Everley said. "We don't need to lose any more kids, or anybody for that matter, to this type of thing.”