SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - The drug that seems to be in the center of the opioid crisis lately is fentanyl. Now it’s even affecting people who aren’t even meaning to take it.
“I can’t control my drug addiction,” said Parker McKinsey.
He doesn’t mince words when he talks about his drug problem. Drugs ripped his childhood away from him. He started smoking marijuana at age 9 and from there he kept looking for whatever gave him the highest high. Heroin and eventually (and unintentionally) fentanyl, took him to his lowest lows.
“I’ve lost everything,” he said. “Ya know what I mean? Family. Friends. Everything.”
Scottsdale Recovery Center (SRC) says in the last six months, they’ve had a 40 percent increase in clients seeking help to overcome their fentanyl addiction. But lots of fentanyl users aren’t alive long enough to get help.
Parker’s younger brother Brian was one of those people.
Last May, during Parker’s first attempt to sober up at SRC, he got news that 17-year-old Brian, a star high school pitcher who had never used drugs before, had overdosed on a drug called Mexican oxy.
“People like to pass it off as Percocet,” he said. “But you’re not going to find it without fentanyl in it, if you’re buying it from someone on the street.”
Parker says the small, blue, round pills with an ‘M’ on one side and the number ‘30’ on the other weren’t what his brother thought he was taking.
“I thought that him passing away, I was gonna be, ‘Okay, I can’t do this,’” Parker said. “I thought that was going to be what was going to keep me from going down that road again. But it didn’t. It drove me deeper.”
Parker thinks most people, like his brother, who are getting addicted to or overdosing on fentanyl don’t even know they’re taking the dangerous opioid. He says a dealer whose drug kills someone is guaranteed to get even more clients who are looking for ‘the good stuff.’
“Basically, it’s just to get people further addicted,” said SRC licensed professional counselor James Sapp. “The stronger the drug, the stronger the addiction.”
James says parents should know about Mexican oxy, and the dangers of other drugs -- like heroin and meth – which are also usually laced with fentanyl.
“Basically, it kills. It’s at a level to where it’s taking people’s lives,” he said.
Parker has been sober for four months now and this time, he says he’s getting clean for the right reasons.
“If I can prevent someone from dying or if I can save someone’s brother or sister just by talking to you guys, I’m gonna do it,” he said.