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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Clay County detectives who investigated another death thought to be the result of fentanyl say they worry it will eventually wipe out a large portion of an entire generation.

If proven to be fentanyl, it would be the 16th such death in Clay County since July 2020. Fentanyl overdoses are now the leading cause of death for Americans age 18-45.

“The wrong day, the wrong tablet and it’s all over,” Clay County Sgt. Gary Blackwell said.

Taylor Everitt was struck by a car while walking in late 2019. He recovered but suffered from pain.

“His brother said, ‘You’ve got to take prescription pills. You can’t get those from your friends. That stuff will kill you.’ He said, ‘No man, I know what I’m doing,'” Rebecca Everitt said.

At a drug education community summit at Vineyard Church on Monday, Everitt tearfully described how Taylor’s 12-year-old brother found him dead in his room, the result of a single tablet Everitt thought was a Percocet. The young father was just 24 years old.

Drug agents said illegal drug manufacturers are now lacing virtually everything with fentanyl. Blue “M-30s,” believed to be oxycodone, ecstasy pills and candied heroin are the most common culprits according to investigators.

“Fentanyl as a drug is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times than morphine,” Blackwell said.

But there’s no telling how much fentanyl might be any non-prescription tablet. Detectives explained how a pair of girls who travelled from Olathe to Clay County for a buy, split a pill. One suffered no effects, the other died. According to the DEA, 2 out of every 5 pills seized in America now contains a lethal dose of fentanyl.

Everitt said she was saddented to hear of the passing of 16-year-old Ethan Everly from Oak Park High last month. It’s why she’ll keep speaking at One Pill Can Kill Drug Education Summits as often as Clay County hosts them.

“If I can reach someone or teach someone about fentanyl and the dangers that just one pill can kill and save a life, it makes everything worth it,” Everitt said.

There will be another summit Wednesday night at Oak Park High. A sheriff’s office spokesperson said the school invited them out after Everly’s death.