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Father who lost son to overdose urges government to take action on surge in fentanyl supply

Published: Oct. 1, 2021 at 7:30 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - A local father who lost his son to a fentanyl overdose is urging the federal government to take action against illegal drug makers.

As the DEA just issued a rare public safety alert, warning Americans about a huge surge in potentially deadly counterfeit pills.

Fake prescription pills are flooding our cities and towns and DEA agents say they may have fentanyl hidden inside.

They look like your average prescription pain pills from the pharmacy but the DEA warns they’re killing people at an alarming rate.

Tom Rauh died from a fentanyl overdose.
Tom Rauh died from a fentanyl overdose.(Rauh family)

Jim Rauh of Akron lost his son Tom to a fentanyl overdose.

“His mother had just dropped him off, she was going to pick him back up for church, he made a buy, did the straight carfentanil, and died immediately,” he said.

Tom first got hooked on pain pills, eventually turning to heroin.

“Tom struggled, but he was a wonderful person,” his father said.

Like many people struggling with addiction, he didn’t know what else was hidden inside the drug he was taking.

Fentanyl is being mass-produced by criminal drug networks in labs.

The DEA said most counterfeit pills brought into the United States are produced in Mexico, and China is supplying chemicals to make them.

Rauh started Families against Fentanyl with a mission to stop that supply chain.

He’s asking the federal government to declare fentanyl a “weapon of mass destruction” which would give investigators more resources to fight the problem and hold countries like China accountable.

“This is a way to stop it, not deal with it, not live with it, not have it expand. And we can’t stop it from expanding, any other way,” he said.

Rauh said police tracked down the drug makers and suppliers involved with his son’s death across the continent in China.

But they couldn’t get a conviction there.

“This struggle, that all of these families like mine go through is similar. And the heartbreak is similar. And I can’t stand to see this happening to my fellow citizens. To live this pain is so demoralizing,” Rauh said.

Fake prescription pills are easy to find.

They’re often sold online, including on social media.

Anyone, including children, can buy them on their smartphones.

The DEA reported they seized more than 9.5 million counterfeit pills so far this year, more than the last two years combined.

You can read more from the DEA about counterfeit pills here.

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