Jaime Puerta remembers the last night his life felt normal. He had dinner with his son Daniel and they joked around while flicking through old family photographs. The next morning, the former marine found Daniel unconscious on his bed with ashen skin and a blue tint on his lips. What looked like half a tablet of Oxycodone, a prescription-only painkiller, sat on the 16-year old’s dressing table. But the pill was a fake and laced with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid which is 50 times more potent than heroin.
“When the doctors switched off the life support machines, his mom climbed into bed beside him and I held my son’s hand as he passed away,” Puerta says. “This wasn’t an overdose because Daniel didn’t know what he was taking. He was intentionally deceived. He was poisoned.”