ICYMI: A fentanyl laced pill killed my son
(Shawnee, KS, November 28, 2022) – Recently, in an op-ed for the Washington Times, Kansan Libby Davis detailed how her son Cooper Davis lost his life to fentanyl poisoning last summer after taking half a fake Percocet pill that contained a lethal dose of fentanyl. It is believed the pill was purchased from a Missouri drug dealer through the social media platform Snapchat. In the op-ed, Libby encouraged Members of Congress to support legislation that she has been working with U.S. Senator Roger Marshall, M.D. on – The Cooper Davis Act. This bill would require social media companies and other communication service providers to take on a more active role in working with federal agencies to combat the illegal sale and distribution of drugs on their platforms. This critical data will also empower state and local law enforcement to combat fake fentanyl-laced pills and prosecute those who prey on America’s youth. You may click HERE or scroll below to read Libby’s op-ed. You may also click HERE or on the image below to watch a highlight video of Senator Marshall and Libby’s work on the Cooper Davis Act.
Illegal drugs should not be available to our youth on social media
November 21, 2022
On Aug. 29, 2021, my 16-year-old son, Cooper Davis, was deceived to death.
Cooper was a fun kid and so full of life. He had an infectious smile that would spread around the room. He was extremely outgoing and never met a stranger. He had a very kind heart, a soft spot for children with special needs, and couldn’t pass by a homeless person without offering something. He loved water! If there was an ocean, lake, river, pond or puddle, this kid was in it no matter how cold it might be.
Cooper was into all the extreme sports: motorcycles, skateboarding, mountain biking, scooter tricks, rock climbing, cliff jumping, snowboarding, and wakeboarding. He was a self-taught natural at everything he tried. There was no such thing as too high or too fast. He was adventurous to a fault and absolutely fearless.
Of course, Cooper was far from perfect. He did not want to fit the mold of a typical teenager. He was resistant to the guardrails, which we as parents tried to keep in place for him. He was very independent from the moment he could walk. He was strong-willed and hardheaded, and a risk-taker. Cooper thought he was invincible.
It was a Sunday afternoon and Cooper was at a friend’s house. We got the call that every parent fears. Shawnee, Kansas, police told us that Cooper was having a medical emergency and we needed to get there as soon as possible. We would learn later that four boys shared two blue pills they believed were prescription Percocet. Three boys lived, but Cooper did not. He had taken half of a fake pill filled with fentanyl.
As a mother doing her due diligence, I used to monitor Cooper’s Snapchat account, and I would see with my own eyes that many drugs that were available in our community. What I did not know is that these dealers are peddling poison to unsuspecting youth. I did not know illicit fentanyl was being used by cartels to press fake pills in the jungles of Mexico. I do know that social media companies have to be accountable for the transactions taking place on their platforms. They cannot be the avenue for the drug sales and distribution that is killing our youth. They need to be a part of the solution instead of an accomplice to these poisonings.
Like any other market, cartels use social media to create a one-stop shop for marketing, selling and delivering illegal, fentanyl-laced pills. And we watch in horror at how this is proving to be a profitable marketing strategy. Unfortunately, some federal agencies don’t have what they need to stop it. The Drug Enforcement Administration — the federal agency responsible for regulating controlled substances — investigated over 80 cases linking victims to social media apps last year. However, it’s a drop in the bucket when you think about the more than 200,000 Americans who died from an overdose last year.
The DEA needs better tools to effectively crack down on illegal fentanyl sales and prevent criminals from exploiting social media. The Cooper Davis Act — named after my son and introduced by Sen. Roger Marshall, a physician himself — does just that. It would require all social media companies to take a more proactive role in reporting information on illegal drug sales happening on their platforms. This database will help DEA to intervene before an illegal sale occurs, but they’ll also be able to see the bigger picture. DEA analysts will be able to uncover criminal networks and go after more critical actors.
But this won’t just help the DEA; this legislation will also improve coordination with other federal agencies and state and local law enforcement. Instead of the current patchwork where each company may or may not submit information of varying degrees, we could have a standardized and comprehensive process bound by law. After all, they are already required to do this for child sexual exploitation, which was an effort spearheaded by President Biden when he was a senator. I really hope that senators and members of Congress from both sides of the aisle can support the Cooper Davis Act — fentanyl poisoning can happen to someone they know if we don’t get a handle on this epidemic real quickly.
We will never know exactly why Cooper took half a pill that day. Was he curious and just experimenting? Or was he trying to escape from some sadness for a little bit that day? Regardless, illegal drugs should not be available to our youth on social media. It should not be as easy to obtain drugs as it is to order a pizza. If there is one thing that is for sure, it’s that the Cooper Davis Act will save lives.
Libby Davis is a resident of Shawnee, Kansas.
Background on Senator Marshall’s Efforts to Combat the Fentanyl Epidemic:
Senator Marshall questioned Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Rochelle Walensky about what actions federal health agencies are taking to stop the flow of poisonous, illicit fentanyl into American communities. In response to one of Senator Marshall’s questions, Director Walensky confirmed she has had conversations with Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Xavier Becerra about declaring the fentanyl crisis a public health emergency, but did not say whether or not she recommended that to Secretary Becerra. You may click HERE or on the image below to watch Senator Marshall’s full line of questioning:
Senator Marshall previously questioned CDC Director Walensky at a hearing about the illicit fentanyl crisis that is wreaking havoc across Kansas. The questions came on the heels of law enforcement officers in Kansas City, Kansas seizing nearly 15,000 counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl during a two-day bust and Wichita officers seizing nearly 7,000 illegal fentanyl pills during a single traffic stop. You may click HERE or on the image below to watch his remarks and questioning.
Earlier this week, Senator Marshall joined a group of his colleagues on a letter to hold the CEOs of Instagram, TikTok, Snap Inc., and YouTube accountable and demand answers on what they are doing to curb the drug epidemic created by President Biden’s southern border crisis and prevent the sale of fentanyl-laced pills to teenagers and young adults on their social media platforms. You may click HERE to read the full letter written by Senator Marshall and his colleagues.
On August 31, International Overdose Awareness Day, Senator Marshall released a video warning about the dangers of fentanyl poisoning and social media where counterfeit or fake drugs are often purchased and laced with fentanyl. You may click HERE or on the image below to watch the video.
Senator Marshall, along with Senators John Barrasso, M.D. (WY), John Boozman, O.D. (AR), Bill Cassidy, M.D. (LA), and Rand Paul M.D. (KY), recently released a public service announcement (PSA) warning about the dangers of illicit fentanyl that is wreaking havoc in communities throughout the nation and killing Americans at record rates. You may click HERE or on the image below to watch the PSA.
Recently, Senator Marshall questioned federal officials on the Biden Administration’s response to the deadly fentanyl crisis wreaking havoc in Kansas and across the U.S. He said in part, “Kansas is literally at the crossroads of fentanyl trafficking… With three major arteries coming out of Mexico piercing the heart of my great state, and all 3 bisecting the nation’s busiest east-west byway, we are now ground zero… In Mexico, Chinese chemists and the cartels convert these precursors into fentanyl, and lace fake pills like Adderall, or Xanax, or Percocet, or mix with illicit drugs like meth and cocaine… Unfortunately, this is one supply chain from China that’s not broken… Dying from fentanyl is poisoning, not an overdose.” You may click HERE or on the image below to watch Senator Marshall’s full opening remarks and line of questioning.
Additionally, Senator Marshall announced support for the Stop Fentanyl Border Crossings Act, legislation to expand pandemic-related Title 42 expedited removal authority to combat the fentanyl overdose epidemic resulting from drug smuggling across our southern border.
On National Fentanyl Awareness Day, Senator Marshall announced support for the HALT Fentanyl Act. The legislation would permanently give law enforcement the tools to help combat the fentanyl crisis by permanently placing fentanyl-related substances as a class into Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act. A Schedule I controlled substance is a drug, substance, or chemical that has a high potential for abuse; has no currently accepted medical value; and is subject to regulatory controls and administrative, civil, and criminal penalties under the Controlled Substances Act. Fentanyl-related substances’ current Schedule I classification is temporary and set to expire later this year.
In May, Senator Marshall and Kansas Sheriffs Calvin Hayden (Johnson County), Brian Hill (Shawnee County), Roger Soldan (Saline County), Jeff Richards (Franklin County), and Tim Morse (Jackson County) traveled to the Southern Border for briefings, tours, and meetings with border patrol officials, within DHS and the state of Texas. The trip came amid the pending expiration of Title 42 and the growing fentanyl crisis that is wreaking havoc in Kansas and across the nation. You may click HERE or on the image below to watch a recap visit of their trip.
You may click HERE or on the collage below to download high-res photos from their trip.
Senator Marshall is a cosponsor of a Senate resolution to designate May 10, 2022 as National Fentanyl Awareness Day. The resolution supports the mission and goals of National Fentanyl Awareness Day in 2022, including increasing individual and public awareness of the impact of fake or counterfeit fentanyl-related substances on families and young people.
- Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 80-100 times stronger than morphine.
- Kansas suffered a 54% increase in drug overdoses during the first six months of 2021 compared to the same period in 2020.
- Of the 338 people in Kansas who died of drug overdose between Jan. 1 and June 30 of last year – 149 involved fentanyl or fentanyl analogs.
- Overdose deaths from fentanyl-related substances topped all other drug-related overdose deaths in Kansas in 2021
- In the first three months of 2022, Kansas saw more than 2,500 drug overdoses.
- While not on the Kansas side, the Kansas City Police Department announced that accidental overdoses from fentanyl-related substances had climbed nearly 150% from 2019 to 2020 in the metro area, particularly noticeable among ages 15 to 24. Last year, out of 129 overdoses, 50 were fentanyl-related.
- In May, Kansas City, Kansas officers seized nearly 15,000 counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl during a two-day bust,
- In March, Wichita officers seized 7,000 fentanyl-related substance pills during a traffic stop.
- The Wichita Police Department also said that they recently worked five suspected overdose cases in a 24-hour period – two of those were juveniles.
- Nationwide, four in 10 pills examined by DEA labs contain a deadly amount of fentanyl-related substance, an amount that can fit on the tip of a pencil.
- Since Joe Biden took office, nearly 14,000 pounds of fentanyl have been seized from criminals at the southern border – and a record 1,300 pounds were discovered just this past April – much more made it over the border undetected.
- 15,000lbs of fentanyl-related substances were seized in 2021 – enough to supply a potentially lethal dose to every member of the U.S. population.
- 64% of overdose deaths in the U.S. involved synthetic opioids, primarily fentanyl-related substances.
- 4 out of 10 DEA-tested fake pills with fentanyl-related substances contain a potentially deadly dose.
- 12 month period ending in October 2021: 105,000 overdose deaths – 66% were due to fentanyl-related substances, synthetic opioids.
- Sedgwick County is on track to exceed 300 deaths from fentanyl for the year 2022. There were 242 fentanyl deaths in 2021.
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents are seizing record amounts of fentanyl and Meth in Arizona and Texas – in just five separate inspections ahead of the 2022 Labor Day weekend, officers seized 625,000 pills.