Father brings awareness of dangerous street pills to school district after son overdoses

YORK COUNTY, S.C. — A father wants school leaders in York to educate students more about the dangers of illicit pills sold on the street after his son died from a fentanyl overdose.

“My mission is to get out the word and advocate for people, such as my son and others who perished,” Charles Graham said.

His son, Eldon Graham, went to Clemson University to study business but faced challenges after his freshman year.

“He was diagnosed, ultimately with schizophrenia,” Graham said about his son.

Eldon started using street pills to self-medicate.

“We knew that the drug Eldon had been taking was Xanax, but he had not taken it in the past three months before his death,” Graham said.

Eldon was in a gas station parking lot in April 2021 and took a pill laced with fentanyl.

“(Paramedics) were performing CPR, trying to revive him,” the father said. “They worked him for about 30 minutes, but ultimately they weren’t ...”

Elden was 21 years old.

“It’s alarming the amount of fentanyl that is out there,” Graham said.

A 2020 report released this year showed that 47 people in York County died from a fentanyl overdose.

That’s more than from methadone, cocaine and heroin combined.

Graham will talk to York school leaders Tuesday night to ask for more education about the dangers of street pills.

“If you don’t get the pill from a pharmacy window, you got a one in four chance of dying. You’d be better off to spin the dial on a six-shooter (pistol) with one bullet in it,” Graham said.

A spokesperson for York Schools said the district has partnerships with several substance abuse organizations.

The district has full-time substance abuse counselors on campus.

Graham hopes that students in York and other districts can take tests in the classroom on the dangers of fentanyl and other drugs.