ROCKLIN, Calif. — More than 28,000 runners competed in the 2022 Boston Marathon, and among them was a Rocklin mom spreading awareness about the dangers of fentanyl.
"I wanted to use that opportunity to raise awareness, so I wore an additional bib with his beautiful face right here," Laura Didier said.
Her son, Zach Didier, died of fentanyl poisoning on Dec. 27, 2020, after purchasing a pill he thought was Percocet off of Snapchat. He was 17 years old.
"We were blindsided by this issue. We had no awareness of it. Zach did not have a history of substance use, so we had to really investigate what took his life because there were no drugs in his room," Laura Didier said.
Since Zach passed away, his parents, Laura and Chris Didier have been working with local community leaders and officials in Rocklin, Roseville, and Placer County to raise awareness.
They're both speaking Friday at Placer County's launch of its "1 Pill Can Kill Placer" campaign. It will be at Whitney High School in Rocklin starting at 10 a.m. on Friday. Tickets can be reserved HERE.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), from April 2020 to April 2021, more than 100,000 people died from drug overdoses in the United States, which is an increase of around 28% from the same period the prior year.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 100 times stronger than morphine, according to the CDC. Most of the recent cases of fentanyl overdoses are linked to illicitly manufactured fentanyl as opposed to pharmaceutical fentanyl.
"We want to ring the alarm and we just want people to know — families, caregivers, students, and friends to know — that if anyone is produced or procuring anything from social media or off the internet., there's a very strong chance that it could be potentially lethal," Chris Didier said.
Chris Didier said they want to update the narrative and stigmas around fentanyl.
"People who don't understand their problem kind of compartmentalize 'Oh, that's the drug problem I'm not related to that, I feel bad for those people, but that won't happen to me. It won't happen to my kid.' and we're here to say that is a very big mistake," Chris Didier said.
Find more information about fentanyl at Placer County's website.