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After son's fentanyl death, western Washington mother warning teens about counterfeit pills

Lori Carpenter-Butenschoen's son died after taking what he thought was a Percocet. She recently took her message to Shorecrest High School in his honor.

SHORELINE, Wash. — As graduation season approaches at Shoreline's Shorecrest High School, Lori Carpenter-Butenschoen sees her son in each and every one of the young faces.

"I didn't get to plan a graduation, I got to plan a funeral," she said.

Lori's son Garrett died after taking what he thought was a Percocet. It was a counterfeit -- pure fentanyl. Garret was just 18 years old.

"The feeling never goes away," Lori said. "It's different and it just stays different."

Lori has now made it her life's work to spread the word about the deadly nature of fentanyl.

Her message is simple: one pill can kill.

"It's the kids who use one time," Lori said. "We need to not be afraid to have this conversation with our kids."

According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, 60% of the pills sold on the streets contain a potentially fatal dose of the synthetic opioid fentanyl.

That's up from 40% just two years ago.

Just a dozen grains of the drug can be lethal.

Lori said her son was a typical teen who never thought anything bad would happen to him. Now, he is a statistic. 

Lori is determined to keep any kids who will listen from becoming one, as well.

Lori spoke at a fentanyl awareness assembly at Shorecrest, Monday.

"I wouldn't want any of you to go through losing a sibling or a friend," Lori told the crowd. "I'm sure everybody knows someone connected to this epidemic. And if you don't, you do now."

Nearly 110,000 Americans died from overdoses last year, alone. Most deaths were from fentanyl.

It's an epidemic stealing young lives.

"I just challenge you guys to be part of this change," Lori urged the students.

As she looked out into the sea of faces, Lori spoke to them as if they were her own children. She understood her son should've been in the bleachers, excited for graduation, when he died 5 years ago.

But Lori said Garrett's death will not be in vain.

"I would rather have Garrett back, but I don't have that option. So, now I can be his voice."

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