Almost a year ago, Misty Greer-Little of Greenville answered a phone call every parent hopes never to receive, informing her that her 26-year-old daughter, Cheyenne Little, had passed away.
“She was a hairstylist, she had recently opened her own salon and it was a shock,” Greer-Little said. “Eight weeks later we received the toxicology report indicating that it was an accidental overdose of fentanyl.
“What happened was she was given a fake pill that she thought was regular hydrocodone, but it was actually fentanyl,” Greer-Little explained. “From a law enforcement perspective, she had simply taken too many drugs, overdosed and died, so they labeled it an accidental overdose and there was no investigation. But, she didn’t know what she was taking. She was poisoned.
“I asked an officer what I could do to prevent this from happening to someone else’s child, and he recommended education.”
This Thursday, April 14, on the one-year anniversary of Cheyenne’s death, Greer-Little and the organization she founded, 3FP (Fiercely Fighting Fentanyl Poisoning), will officially begin their crusade to educate people about the dangers illegally manufactured fentanyl. At 6 p.m., outside the Hunt County Courthouse, the nonprofit will hold its launch event titled, “Don’t CHEY away it’s not a LITTLE problem.”
In addition to personal testimony from Greer-Little and others (such as Stephanie Hellstern of Fort Worth, who lost her son, Kyle Sexton, to fentanyl poisoning in July 2020), statistics and information on how fentanyl and other opioids being peddled via social media will be shared at the event.
According to the Centers of Disease Control, fentanyl is a powerful painkiller similar to morphine but 100 times stronger (and 50 times stronger than heroin). The CDC also notes that illegally manufactured fentanyl is increasingly being “mixed with drugs like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine and made into pills designed to look like other prescription opioids.”
Similarly, the Drug Enforcement Administration rates 2 milligrams of fentanyl as a “life-threatening dose” and states that approximately 42% of fentanyl pills tested contain between 0.02 and 5.1 milligrams per pill (so up to 2 .55 times a life-threatening dose) . Additionally, fentanyl is often distributed by drug trafficking organizations by the kilogram, which means that one packet has the potential to kill around 500,000 people.
“My intentions and goals behind 3FP are to open the eyes of law enforcement to the prevalence of fentanyl poisoning and how young people are targeted via social media,” Greer-Little said.
“Through Instagram and other sites, young people are sharing their feelings and marketers are attacking them by reaching out and saying, ‘Are you anxious? I have a pill for that. Feeling depressed? I have a pill for that. Need to stay up late to study? I have a pill for that?
“And, with people having a 1 in 20 chance of dying from a fentanyl-containing pill, that’s a bigger problem than a lot of people realize. It’s Russian roulette,” Greer-Little said.
In addition to personal stories and information shared, Thursday’s fentanyl poisoning awareness event will be commemorated with a proclamation read by Hunt County Judge Bobby Stovall.
Immediate plans for 3FP include hosting a roundtable on fentanyl poisoning. The organization also plans to encourage area school districts to seek funding to acquire NARCAN (Naloxone), an emergency medication used to counter breathing difficulties after an opioid overdose.