MODESTO, Calif. (KTXL) — The opioid crisis is nationwide and one facet of that is the rise of synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
“My son Jordan was friendly, kind. He was a caring young man,” said Modesto mother Kristi Ah You.
Jordan Herr was a father, a son, a brother and a decorated Army combat veteran.
“He suffered with PTSD and a TBI, which is a traumatic brain injury. And along with that, he ended up developing addiction to pills and alcohol, and it just got worse from there,” Ah You told FOX40.
Ah You lost her son in July. At just 29 years old, his life was cut short by fentanyl poisoning.
“I found him passed out on the floor and between the bathroom in the vanity area,” Ah You recalled. “And I’m yelling at the maintenance worker to call 911. I’m straightening my son out, and I am beginning to give him CPR.”
“The vision of finding him will not leave,” she continued.
Herr had been staying at a local hotel with plans to meet with his caseworker to talk about his next steps to get clean. Investigators found pills in his room, but Ah You said her son may not have known he was taking fentanyl.
“You are playing Russian roulette by putting anything in your system that you have not received from a doctor,” Herr’s mother said.
At the time, he’d been in and out of more than 20 different drug treatment programs.
“The VA tried to help him as best they could,” said Ah You. “Jordan tried to help himself and his family tried, but it was one terrible, awful road.”
“Fentanyl is pretty much in just about everything that’s available on the streets at this time. Eighty to 100 times more powerful than heroin could ever be,” Ah You said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says fentanyl deaths are on the rise.
“It’s not just a community problem, this isn’t a Modesto problem. This is a nationwide issue and it is affecting so many,” Ah You said.
Congressman Josh Harder, D-Turlock, voted Wednesday to pass the Synthetic Opioid Danger Awareness Act calling deaths from the drug preventable.
“I appreciate that he’s signing that, and I think that any level of help and any level of courage and the willingness to fight this is appreciated. And it’s courageous. I think it’s wonderful,” Ah You said.
If passed, the bill would push the CDC to create a public education campaign about the dangers of fentanyl.
“Obviously, I can’t solve addiction. I can’t solve PTSD issues and things like that,” Ah You said. “But if I can help maybe one person make a better decision that doesn’t die as a result of fentanyl, then I’ve done my job.”
Congressman Harder said he hopes the House will vote to pass the bill this week before it moves to the Senate. He wants to see it signed by the president before the end of the year.
If you or anyone you know is facing a substance use disorder, you can call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Helpline at 1-800-662-HELP (4357).