'It's either life or death right now:' Local father educates families on dangers of fentanyl

SEATTLE  --  Fentanyl is the most deadly drug in the nation, according to a new report from the CDC.

And it's killing people who don't even know they're using it.

The CDC says the rate of drug overdoses involving the synthetic opioid skyrocketed by about 113% each year from 2013 through 2016.  Now, local dad, Michael Roberts, who lost his teenage daughter to an overdose, is hoping to educate families so they don’t face the same pain.

“It’s either life or death right now, which is a scary thing to think about," Roberts said. "A lot of parents I talk to about their kids who have been addicted didn’t ever think it would happen to them."

He says his daughter, Amber, died of an overdose at 19 years old in 2015.

“It was not just heroin, it was MDMA ‘Molly” and ethanol or alcohol; all three combined,” Roberts said.

He says the CDC’s latest report, citing fentanyl as the most deadly drug in America, should give every parent pause.  With ten years in recovery himself, Michael founded ‘Amber’s Hope’ to educate families about addiction and mental health.

“I’m either going to join her or I have to do something so that no other parent has to go through this pain,” Roberts said.

In Washington state, health officials say fentanyl-related overdose deaths are up 70 percent from last year.  From early 2016 through the first quarter of this year, topping off at 17 overdoses.  And across our state, officials say 81 people died from fentanyl related deaths compared to the same time frame as last year.

They say they’re finding more street drugs laced with powerful fentanyl and it's killing people who might not even know they're taking it.

“It`s so powerful that even a dose as small as a few grains of salt is enough for someone to overdose and die,” says Dr. Kathy Lofy, with the Opioid Response Work Group.

Healthcare officials insist drug users and those who know them should carry and know how to use naloxone.

“You just don’t know.  And it scares the hell out of me and it should scare the hell out of everyone else,” Roberts said.

Health officials want to remind everyone of the state`s good Samaritan law, which will not prosecute users for drug possession if they have to call 911 during an emergency.