‘If I can help just one person’: Dad warns of fentanyl dangers after son’s overdose death

CATAWBA COUNTY, N.C. — Losing a child to drugs is something most parents never think will happen to them.

Stephen Price will never forget finding his son, Hunter, dead inside his bedroom at their home near Hickory. Hunter had worked that day and came home to cook dinner.

“He walked to the end of the bed where I was at and he said, ‘Dad, I’m sorry for waking you … I’m going to eat supper and go to bed. I love you.’ And I said, ‘I love you, goodnight.’”

Those were the last words Stephen Price spoke to his son. Hours later, he found Hunter overdosed in his bedroom. Deputies later said Hunter took half of a pill that was laced with fentanyl. They showed Channel 9 evidence from his room, including the container where they found three and a half pills.

Mike Crisp with the Catawba Sheriff’s Office investigated Hunter’s case. He continues to work on overdose cases in Catawba County -- where there has been nearly one every week over the last 10 months.

“I’m tired of seeing parents cry. I’m tired of parents having to bury their children,” Crisp said. “I’m tired of having to notify parents that their child is now deceased due to the choices of taking pills that are unknown.”

Crisp said that in many cases, people are unaware the pills they are taking are laced with fentanyl. Deputies believe the pills Hunter had were possibly made in Mexico with a fake pill press.

Last month, the Drug Enforcement Administration announced it had seized 1.8 million fake pills during a two-month period. According to the DEA, fentanyl is now responsible for three-quarters of the 93,000 fatal overdoses nationwide.

“If he knew what was in that pill, he wouldn’t have taken it,” Hunter’s cousin Kayley Price said. “I don’t think anyone would, but that’s the thing, you don’t know what’s in them.”

Stephen Price wishes he had woken up in time to save his son. He hopes by sharing Hunter’s story, he can save another life.

“If I can help just one person. I would rather help that person than have them going through what I’m going through,” he said. “If they could just see into my heart for two seconds, they would change their ways.”

If you or someone you know needs help finding treatment, go to findtreatment.gov.

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