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'This is 1 drop in a bucket': 2 years after his death, mom recounts losing her 16-year-old son from fentanyl

Tammy Mopping says her son, Carson, died after unknowingly taking a pill of pure fentanyl
Posted: 6:58 AM, Jul 03, 2024
Updated: 2024-07-03 09:58:59-04
Carson Moppin

INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — In 2022, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 76,226 people died from synthetic opioids. 16-year-old Carson Moppin of Oak Grove, Missouri, was one of the fatal deaths that year.

Carson's mom, Tammy Moppin, shared his story with KSHB 41 News reporter Claire Bradshaw almost two years after his death. Tammy said on Aug. 24, 2022, she went to wake up her teenage son to take his permit test before the first day of school. That was when she found him unresponsive.

Carson Moppin

“They found one-and-a-half pills in his room after he passed that they tested that were nothing but fentanyl. It was supposed to be a Percocet or something like that. They were little blue pills. There was no Percocet in it. It was all fentanyl. It was all pure fentanyl," Moppin said.

Tammy Moppin

Tammy said she constantly talked to Carson about drugs and the dangers of using them. She said that Carson had come to her earlier that year saying he had tried alcohol and drugs and wanted to go to rehab. He had been released a few months before his death. She said she doesn't know what the solution is, but wants parents to continue to educate their children on drugs.

“What Carson had was pure fentanyl. There was nothing else in it. That's scary. That's scary because it's still out there. Kids are still dying. Adults are dying. People are dying. It's not stopping and this is one person. This is one drop in a bucket," Moppin said.

The Jackson County Drug Task Force comprises police chiefs from Eastern Jackson County police departments. It handles cases like Carson's, which Tammy said is still under investigation. Chair Bob Muenz, who also serves at the Blue Springs Police Chief, said it isn't unheard of for a case to take time to solve. The biggest help can be people sharing what they know.

“It takes time to develop those contacts those informants, it takes time to make those purchases and gather the information. So as with anything with law enforcement, we always ask for the community's help. If you see something, say something, let us know, and be willing to talk about it," Muenz said.

Chief Bob Muenz

The drug task force reported in its 2023 comprehensive reportthat from 2021-23, it confiscated more than 75,000 counterfeit pills and 22,000 grams of fentanyl powder. It said that much fentanyl is enough for 11 million fatal doses.

Two years later, Tammy is still saying Carson's name and sharing his story in hopes others will listen and take away how dangerous drugs like fentanyl can be.

“That's all I can hope for is that his death can help somebody else. Maybe that can help their kid not take that pill, you know, or come to them or they're wanting to take a pill... just talk to them. Talk to them and tell them about the dangers. Tell them Carson’s story," Moppin said.

KSHB 41 reporter Claire Bradshaw covers portions of eastern Jackson County, including areas like Blue Springs and Independence. If you have a story idea to share, send an email to Claire at claire.bradshaw@kshb.com.