SEAFORD, Del.- While it is a powerful drug often given to cancer patients, fentanyl has been making headlines recently for being mixed with heroin, creating a potent combination. It is up to 100 times as potent as regular heroin, in fact. This year, fentanyl-laced heroin has claimed two lives in Sussex County. WBOC’s Corrina Pysa sat down with the mother of one of those victims, who is struggling to come to terms with her loss.
Wendy Prettyman showed us photos Thursday, of a smiling mother surrounded by her children.
“She loved them,” Prettyman said of her daughter. “With everything she had.”
They are memories of a life taken too soon.
“I won't call Lauren an addict,” said Prettyman. “Lauren was depressed. Lauren had goals that anybody else would have. And just because she made a bad choice, she gave her life for that bad choice.”
When Lauren Miles was found dead two months ago -- the day after her 28th birthday -- it was initially thought that it may have been a suicide. But then, news of fentanyl-laced heroin overdoses in Delaware came out, and caught her mother’s attention.
“Two days later, that's when her death certificate came in, and it just blew me away,” recalled Prettyman. “And I was like, she made it to the news, and she didn't even know it.”
The loss of a child is something Prettyman knows all too well. Her other daughter, Michele, was killed in an accident in 2010.
“This is killing me every single day,” Prettyman shared. “Every night I go out on my step, and I say goodnight to the stars, praying to God that my kids hear me.”
This time around, along with the grief, came anger.
“They're selling this on the street and they're killing people,” she said. “For ten dollars a pop, they're killing people.”
It is something Prettyman wants people to take seriously.
“It wasn't a day afterwards, people were calling other people, 'Dude, what did she die of? That stuff had to be good, because it killed her.' It's not a joke. It is not a joke. My daughter is gone because somebody put something in her heroin.”
And she doesn't want it to happen to anyone else.
“When you come down from that high, you still have your problem,” noted Prettyman. “When you come off your drug that the doctor gives you, you still have your problem. But when you come down off of fentanyl, you don't have a life.”
In Delaware, a total of six fentanyl-laced heroin deaths have been confirmed this year, although public health officials say more are suspected. Two of those were from Sussex County. Updated numbers for Maryland are expected in June, although 37 were confirmed last year. In Virginia, six cases of fentanyl-laced heroin overdoses were confirmed in 2013.
Wednesday, July 23 2014 3:49 PM EDT2014-07-23 19:49:09 GMT
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