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Sixteen-year-old Cooper Davis is remembered as an adventurous and outgoing child. He practiced a lot of extreme sports.
His mother, Libby Davis of Shawnee, Kansas, said she and her husband Randy would watch him with “one eye open”.
“Just because, you know, in his mind, there was nothing that was too high or too fast,” she explained in a Friday interview with Fox News Digital. “He loved life.”
His parents, who work in the medical field, knew he used marijuana recreationally, but did their best to try to limit it.
“We didn’t know he had used something that looked like a pill before,” she said.
His son was hanging out with his girlfriend and three other boys at a friend’s house last year.
One of the friends had purchased what they believed to be two Percocet pills from a dealer in Missouri using Snapchat.
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They shared the blue pills – Cooper took half – unaware they were fake and mixed with synthetic opioid fentanyl.
While Cooper’s friends survived, he did not.
Davis and her husband received a call from Shawnee police saying their son had a medical emergency and headed to his location.
“By the time we arrived they had already been working on it for about 40 minutes,” she added.
Davis was rushed to the emergency room, but efforts to resuscitate him were unsuccessful. A toxicology report revealed that there was no Percocet in the pill.
After their son’s death, the Davis family made “Keepin’ Clean for Coop” bumper stickers and established the Cooper Davis Memorial Foundation, with a mission to raise awareness of the dangers of counterfeit pills – and with the aim of save lives.
“So we immediately knew that we had to try to reach as many people as possible to make sure they were aware of this dangerous drug that is floating around in every community in America,” Davis said, noting that she wanted Cooper’s story to serve as a cautionary tale. tale.
“It only takes one time,” she stressed, advising parents to constantly talk to their children about the dangers.
Davis said it wasn’t any easier to talk about what happened to her son.
“It’s really not real until I have to say it out loud. And I tell people that my life is confusing because when I’m going to do stuff like this I think, ‘This is awesome. . I’m so excited to be able to do this,” she said of the interview. “And then, in the same thought, I think, ‘There’s no place I wish I didn’t have to be today other than what I’m about to do. “
While Cooper’s case remains under investigation, Republican Kansas Sen. Roger Marshall introduced a bipartisan bill Friday bearing his son’s name.
The Cooper Davis Act recognizes that the drug cartels responsible for trafficking fentanyl have set up online distribution networks using social media platforms.
The measure would require social media companies and other communication service providers to take a more active role in working with federal agencies to combat the illegal sale and distribution of drugs on their platforms.
The act was announced at a press conference Friday morning in Overland Park, Kansas.
Marshall and seven other Republican senators sent a letter to the CEOs of Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube and TikTok last week calling on them to identify “steps [the] companies take to protect children and crack down on illegal drug sales on [their] platforms” and “[recognize] the role [the] platforms play in the evolution of the illicit drug ecosystem. »
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“It wasn’t an overdose. It was poisoning,” Marshall told Fox News Digital. “And that’s what my message is today. This is to all state attorneys general, federal prosecutors, county prosecutors… This is murder. And it should be prosecuted as such. ”
The senator, who practiced medicine in Great Bend for more than 25 years, said social media companies should be proactive in researching emojis and drug sales.
Davis pointed out that the cartels created a drug emoji code.
Social media companies would be required to alert authorities when they see these codes.
“Kansas had the second highest increase in overdose deaths last year in the entire country. Let’s just point out that we’re at this crossroads of drug trafficking — that we look like a border state,” Marshall said.
Fentanyl, he says, is cheap and readily available for young adults who are self-medicating.
“They feel depressed. They can’t concentrate. So they get this prescription for Adderall online,” Marshall continued. “And, Adderall, or Xanax is another big one…and they’re mixed with fentanyl.”
The senator believes the fentanyl crisis should be declared a public health emergency.
While fentanyl overdose deaths are high, they are not the leading cause of death for all American adults. The CDC also says it has yet to verify that fentanyl is the leading killer in Americans between the ages of 18 and 45.
However, the CDC said in a July speech to the Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions that preliminary data shows more than 107,000 Americans have died from drug overdoses in the past few months. 12 months ending January, with 66.5% of those deaths involving synthetic opioids and mostly illicitly manufactured fentanyl.
That same data from the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics showed that deaths from synthetic opioids fell from more than 57,800 in 2020 to 71,238 in 2021.
CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said she had conversations with Health and Human Services Sec. Xavier Becerra about declaring the crisis a public health emergency but did not say whether she had recommended it to Becerra.
Fox News’ request for comment to the CDC was not immediately returned.
Davis, Marshall and the US Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) warn of rainbow fentanyl ahead of the Halloween holiday and shed light on a DEA program called Operation Engage.
Operation Engage was created to combat the nationwide drug epidemic and connect field offices to their communities.
“The Cooper Davis Act is trying to save lives, but we know the real root of the problem is a porous southern border,” Marshall said, saying he’s seen firsthand how busy border agents are. trying to track illegal migrants. that they couldn’t keep up with the cartels.
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Marshall and five Kansas sheriffs traveled to the southern border in May for a tour and meetings with federal and Texas state officials.
In an August statement from the Department of Justice, US attorney Randy Grossman called the amount of fentanyl seized at the border “staggering”.
“Once again, Kansas has gone from one death per day to four deaths per day this year. This is truly the number one health issue for young adults in the state of Kansas,” he said. concluded.
Kansas’ Prescription Drug and Opioid Advisory Committee reported in November 2021 that synthetic opioid overdose deaths, primarily caused by fentanyl, increased 130% from 2019 to 2020.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.