LANSING, Kan. — Every student at Lansing High School learned the dangers of fentanyl at a school assembly Wednesday. It’s a lesson they know all too well.
Tuesday the medical examiner ruled Lansing freshman Cruz Burris, 15, died of accidental fentanyl intoxication on January 18.
With two students at Lansing High, the Burris family did their best to warn their children about the growing dangers of fentanyl.
“We said kids look what’s happening across our country please do not do drugs. Unfortunately I never thought it was here at a local level until this occurred,” Andy Burris, his father, said.
Kansas is one of the fastest growing states for fentanyl in America, with a 73% increase in overdoses or accidental poisonings. Senator Roger Marshall calls fentanyl poisonings the number one killer of young people, saying 3-4 Kansans die each day from the deadly drug.
“Cruz had purchased this from social media and it was one pill he thought was Percocet,” Burris said.
His mother went to wake him up for school.
“I was in the basement sorting laundry and I heard a huge holler, ‘Andy come up, Cruz is dead,'” Burris said.
Paramedics attempted CPR but couldn’t save him. At an event Wednesday called “One Pill Can Kill” in conjunction with the Lansing Educational Foundation, Kansas City Kansas Police and Fire Department detailed the 174 overdoses in that city last year. 40 of them were fatal.
KBI’s director says at least 1,000 Kansans were saved by Narcan, but for Burris it was too late.
Hours after Lansing high schoolers heard the message, The freshman’s father spoke to parents and middle schoolers.
“I want them to understand it can happen to their kids. I never want any family, any parent, any child to die and to ever go through what Rhonda, Justice, Jaycee and I are going through,” Burris said.
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The Kansas Attorney General is now calling for stricter penalties of distributors of pills laced with fentanyl, especially when it leads to death. Burris’s father echoed support for the measure.