OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – In the year that’s passed since her son Rylee died from an accidental fentanyl poisoning, Lisa Carpenter-Grant said she’s focused on the fact that she had her son for 29 years.
“Rylee used to give me a hard time that I didn’t do more with my time than I did, [but] his death has actually propelled me to re-engage in the bigger world,” she said while pouring over his photo.
KFOR first introduced you to Lisa in May 2022, just days after she found her son slumped over a chair in his bedroom at their family home.
Grant told KFOR that Rylee, whom she described as both vibrant and creative, struggled previously with drug addition, but prior to his death had been fentanyl free for nearly three months.
“While Rylee was free from fentanyl for 82 days, sadly he was still not making all the best choices,” she said in a recent interview with the station.
Since Rylee’s death, Lisa has made it her mission to inform others about the dangers of fentanyl and other opioids, drugs that pose high risks for addiction and dependence.
Although Lisa believes Rylee thought he was ingesting another substance and not fentanyl at the time of his death, Lisa said she recently received a formal copy of Rylee’s autopsy report, confirming the substance found in his system was fully fentanyl.
“The only thing found in his system was fentanyl,” she added.
In 2019, there were 47 fentanyl overdose deaths. In 2022, the number of deaths skyrocketed to 300, according to the Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics (OBN).
“Do the math, that is very troubling [and] it’s proof positive that nobody is safe,” Lisa said.
“I knew about fentanyl prior to Rylee’s death and it took him anyway,” she added.
In an effort to bring awareness to the drug, Lisa plans to demonstrate alongside other metro area moms on Mother’s Day at a local 7-Eleven in OKC.
“There are hundreds of thousands of mothers in this country that will warn you what it will do to your child,” she continued.
Lisa said the event wil occur simultaneously in other cities around the country and will stream live on Facebook.
Learn more about the event here.
Lisa said in her experience, there are still too many people that don’t understand the devastating effects of the drug.
“A lot of these people that are losing family members have never even heard of fentanyl until they hear their loved one (s) died,” she said.
“It’s coming to get every person that it can.”