ROCKLIN, Calif. — A Sacramento man was sentenced to 17 years in prison Thursday after the fentanyl death of a Rocklin teen.
Zach Didier, a 17-year-old Whitney High School student, died of fentanyl poisoning on Dec. 27, 2020, after purchasing a pill he thought was Percocet off of Snapchat.
In July, 22-year-old Virgil Xavier Bordner pleaded no contest to three charges including involuntary manslaughter, selling a controlled substance to a minor, and a special allegation of inflicting great bodily injury, according to the Placer County District Attorney's Office. He received credit for 178 days served out of his 17-year sentence.
"I know that I am not the only one suffering, and there is nothing I can say or do to bring your son back...," Bordner said in court.
Since Didier died, his parents, Laura and Chris Didier worked with community leaders and officials in Rocklin, Roseville and Placer County to raise awareness about the dangers of fentanyl.
"There was not a lot of awareness about fentanyl and counterfeit pills, we got a lot of parent shaming and victim blaming," said Laura Didier.
The parents are pleading with parents to step up. The Didiers said they are working to fight the stigma of fentanyl deaths. Local leaders shared their support for the family in turning their tragedy into advocacy and awareness.
"There was not a lot of awareness about fentanyl and counterfeit pills, we got a lot of parent shaming and victim blaming," said Morgan Gire, Placer County District Attorney.
Jennifer Mouzis, Bordner's lawyer, said he didn't know fentanyl was in the product he sold Zachery and that Bordner was sorry.
"We're very happy the Didier family had closure today, and we hope that today allows them some solace from that pain," Mozius said.
According to the 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 100x 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.
Find more information about fentanyl at Placer County's website.