A 25-year-old man died last Feb. 16, 2015, and two years later, his mother continues to fight the drug overdose epidemic. In her latest effort, she seeks to restrict fentanyl as it was the drug ingested by her son mistakenly thought as a painkiller.
The mother, Lisa Hicks, said she never stopped fighting for better laws against the drug that killed her son. After ingesting what was thought to be a painkiller, Joseph Edward Patterson was found dead at his Shades Valley Lane home.
The bill that Hicks hopes to be passed is the Stop Trafficking in Fentanyl Act of 2015. The federal bill has not been touched and deliberated since January 2016.
If passed, the bill would reduce the minimum quantity of fentanyl from 400 grams to 20 grams for high-level first offenders and repeat offenders, which is equal to 10 years behind bars. If fentanyl causes death or serious injury, the minimum sentence will be 20 years, Gainesville Times reported.
Last December, the Drug Enforcement Administration released their annual national drug threat assessment report and it was found out there was an increase in fentanyl-related deaths. Just this February, The Globe and Mail reported about 12 Ottawa residents are facing more than 130 charges regarding trafficking off-counterfeit pills containing fentanyl.
On top of Hicks' effort to strengthen laws on drugs in her community, she also filed a wrongful death lawsuit in Hall County State court against the people who gave her son the pill. Those named in the lawsuit are Casey Trichel, who gave Patterson the pills and is currently serving 15 years behind bars for the crime, and others who were at the home of Patterson.
Patterson was supposed to be a father. He was not able to see his son be born as he died before the birth. Hicks has full custody of the baby. "He's doing really well and looking more like his daddy every day," she shared. It is unclear where the mother is.
Fentanyl is 50 times more powerful than heroin and is a drug prescribed for chronic pain management. It can cause breathing to stop. It could be manufactured to look like prescription opioids such as Percocet.
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