KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The federal government is getting involved to help combat the nation's growing opioid epidemic. A group in Kansas City is also getting involved by holding a 5K run/walk for awareness.
A new study shows overdosing is the number one killer of Americans under the age of 50. Opioid addiction is increasing with lightning speed, and a group called "Shatterproof" is fighting to save lives of people like Leawood native Andrew Canon.
"Here we are a year later, we don't get to celebrate a 22nd, 23rd birthday, you know? We don't get any of that. More than that, Andrew doesn't get it. He doesn't have the opportunity," Denise Canon.
Her son died from an accidental overdose of fentanyl - a synthetic opioid which is 50-to-100 times more potent than morphine and 30-to-50 times more potent than heroin. It is the drug that also killed the musician Prince - and it is just one of the many opioids that contribute to the epidemic many experts call a national crisis.
"These kids who are out there thinking they are going to get a quick, cheap high, because that is what fentanyl does, it gets you high quick and fast, but it will kill you, it will kill you. And if you think it won't happen to you, people need to think about it again. It happened to us," Canon told FOX 4.
She says her family is an average Johnson County family. Her son was a typical good kid who played sports, got good grades, was kind and had lots of friends. The opioid epidemic is just as serious in the suburbs as in the urban core of cities across America.
"I am a real person. I hope my story is compelling enough that somebody gets it, like it is not just a statistic, it is not just another obituary, it's a real deal," Canon said.
Shatterproof's rise up against addiction 5K run/walk will be at Arrowhead on Sunday. Click this link for more information.