Tearful testimonies and words of support were shared at a fentanyl poisoning awareness rally held Thursday at the Hunt County Courthouse.
Entitled “Don’t CHEY away it’s not a LITTLE problem”, the event took place on the first anniversary of the death of Cheyenne Little of Greenville, who died of fentanyl poisoning at the age of 26. .
“It’s just amazing to see you all here, and as I look at your faces, I see Cheyenne, because so many of you were a part of Cheyenne life and that means the world to me,” said Cheyenne’s mother, Misty Greer-Little, as she addressed the crowd of more than 150 people.
On April 14, 2021, Cheyenne received a pill she thought was hydrocodone but was actually fentanyl.
At Thursday’s event, a guest, Stephanie Helstern, shared a similar story to Greer-Little. Helstern lost her son, Kyle Sexton, in 2020. When Helstern spoke, she pointed out the difference between an “overdose” and “poisoning.”
“A lot of people use the word ‘overdose’, but what is an ‘overdose’? An overdose is when you take too much of something. No, my son was poisoned,” Helstern said “He thought he was taking something else (Percocet) and he was cheated. So instead, we call it fentanyl poisoning. It’s the same way Cheyenne was lost.
“We’re trying to educate the media, and I spoke with Governor (Greg) Abbott last month, and he’s talking about it now too, so we’re changing the wording to remove the stigma,” Helstern added.
At the event, several speakers also warned that young people are being targeted by marketers through social media sites such as Snapchat, sometimes using different emojis (internet pictograms) as code.
“These dealers are selling pills to our kids, and all a kid needs to get them is a phone and $20 and the pills will be delivered to them like pizza,” Greer-Little said.
Another thing speakers promoted at the event was awareness of NARCAN (Naloxone), an emergency medication in the form of a nasal spray that is used to counter breathing difficulties after an opioid overdose.
“You need to keep this (NARCAN) in your medicine cabinet. You have to keep this in your purse,” Helstern said, citing incidents in which law enforcement officers passed out from accidental exposure to fentanyl while assisting and receiving several doses of NARCAN as they were taken to hospital.
The event was organized by 3FP (Fiercely Fighting Fentanyl Poisoning), a group founded by Greer-Little, to help educate the community about the dangers of illegally manufactured fentanyl. The rally was commemorated with a proclamation read by Hunt County Judge Bobby Stovall.
In the near future, 3FP plans to schedule a roundtable on the subject.