Carry Walker doesn’t just keep boys in mind. She also puts them on the calf.
Her sons Alex and Andrew Colors were about six years apart. But they are now the same age — now and forever.
That’s how it appears in her lower leg tattoos. And that’s how they are engraved in her memory.
Walker created a tattoo design based on a photo hanging on the wall of his living room in South Bakersfield. About 17 years before the deadly opioid overdose, Alexander posed with his younger brother Andrew about 12 or 6 years ago. his. Each lifts a newly hooked Khan River base and wears a satisfying smile.
Today, they are the sparks that bring her mission to life. Overdose of opioids in children no longer destroys the minds of adults. Tall, orderly and unrealistic, sticking to such details only hinders her determination and she doesn’t have the time to do so.
Through her grassroots organization, Steps of Change (stepsofchange.org, Facebook page), Walker provides comfort, advice, networking, and referrals to parents who have lost their children to opioids.
“I don’t know how many times I hear.’You are strong, what you do is wonderful, you are going to touch life, you are going to change your life, you are going to do great things.” She says.
Walker isn’t particularly strong, she says. But are you angry? Yes, she has a lot of it.
“There are different emotions there,” she says. “But anger … it’s killing our children.”
“It” is fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is devastating the country. Last year, more than 80,000 Americans died, including Kern County scores, an increase in 2021. Kahn seems undoubtedly over 200 fatal overdose of fentanyl since January 2020.
Alex Cullers died in July 2014 from an opioid overdose. He was taking the prescription oxycodone he found in his girlfriend’s grandmother’s medicine rack.
“He was violent, crazy, and always had a lot of energy, but he was the most affectionate kid you’ve ever met,” Walker says. “(But) he suffered from anxiety and depression and fought much of his life.”
That Andrew would one day succumb to the same thing that his brother Alex became Walker’s greatest horror.
“By losing one child, your fear of losing another is so great, with Andrew,” Walker says. “… I educated him. We talked about it.”
Walker once found Andrew smoking marijuana. She sat him down and cried.
“I can’t lose another child — I can’t survive it,” she tells him. “He said,’I never try drugs, I know what they do.'”
But one night in April 2019, Andrew went out with his friends and never went home. The first night she was desperate. She called a friend he went out with. They said he didn’t know where he was. She called the police and reported that he was missing. Then she waited. And waited.
The next day she called the same three friends. Did they believe they didn’t know? They agreed to look for him. And they found him exactly where he last met. Sitting in his car at Irvine’s gas station, he managed to be undetected for almost 48 hours.
He placed crushed Xanax (a prescription-only benzodiazepine used to treat anxiety) on a sheet of aluminum foil, heated it from below with a lighter, and inhaled the vapor. Then he died.
It turns out that it wasn’t Xanax. It was a forged Xanax-fentanyl, a synthetic opioid from a completely different family of chemicals originally prescribed as anesthesia and last resort analgesics.
He had never learned from his brother’s death, as children do not always learn that way. They are children, so you have to try things yourself. That night, one of his friends who went out with Andrew died five months later from an overdose of fentanyl.
Walker’s survival strategy is simple: educate others. Don’t let anyone else cause this kind of broken heart, not whether you can help it. When she started the non-profit Steps of Change, the idea was to visit a school rally and give a speech about opioids. Partly because of the pandemic that closed all schools, it turned into something else. It is a place for parents to be referred and assisted.
Once the Facebook page became parents of three, she met regularly in her living room, including Walker, to talk about life and loss. Now I have eight parents.
Among her new friends is Becky Torres. Becky Torres’ 33-year-old daughter Brooke died in much the same way. Then there’s Casey Jackson, who lost his 18-year-old daughter Katie Kugener. Cheryl Cabral loses 28-year-old Tyler. And the same year — Danny Hart, who lost 28-year-old Dylan and his 23-year-old brother Kamreng in 2020. In each case, the murderer was fentanyl. ..
These days, fentanyl is found in everything on the street, so it’s usually disguised.
Another of Walker’s new allies is Luis Wright, who once turned minister for heroin addiction. He runs One Door Recovery, which provides counseling and actively seeks to heal drug addicts on the streets of Baker’s Field.
He confirms that fentanyl appears in everything, including non-narcotics.
“This is the problem we are looking at,” he says. “Methamphetamine, cocaine, all these drugs: do they kill you? I know. Can they do that? Over a long period of time, they can. You can die. There’s a way you can, I’m not saying you can’t die. (But) Today’s heroin — it’s going to kill you. It’s like Russian roulette every time you use it. “
According to Wright, fentanyl is cheap and therefore more profitable for everyone at the top and bottom of the supply chain. It does not spoil the unpredictability of opiate crops: fentanyl is prescribed in the laboratory. Precursor chemicals are most often shipped from China to Mexico, and the Sinaloa Cartel most often converts them into tablets of similar pharmaceuticals.
Highs are good, so they say, drugs are desirable and encourage customers to come back in search of more. But if it isn’t measured accurately and correctly, it kills.
Walker may have been completely absorbed in the fight against Fentanyl, but he can spend time on other important things like his three daughters and four grandchildren. Five out of seven live with her, so there are plenty of bedlams. Good kind.
Walker travels to Arkansas every three months to visit six-year-old Alexandra (Lexie) Colors, who lives with her mother. Lexi was unaware of his father, Alex Cullers, who died five months before she was born.
But she will know her grandmother. rest assured.
Robert Price is a journalist for KGET-TV. His column will appear here on Sunday.To reach him with RobertPrice@KGET.com Or via Twitter: @stubblebuzz. The expressed opinion is his own.
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