‘As Easy as Ordering Pizza’: How Fentanyl-Laced Pills Are Killing America’s Youth

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On the morning of July 25, 2020, Matthew Thomas took what he believed was a Percocet, a prescription drug for pain relief. He died moments later, the victim of fentanyl poisoning.

On Jan. 26, 2019, Austen Babcock took what he believed was cocaine. Unbeknownst to him, it was laced with fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid. He died shortly after, another victim of fentanyl poisoning.

April Babcock, Austen’s mother, and Wendy Thomas, Matthew’s mother, have both become activists to raise awareness about illicit fentanyl. Babcock is the founder of Lost Voices of Fentanyl, a nonprofit organization dedicated to raising awareness on illicit fentanyl, and Thomas is the founder of Mathew’s Voice.

Both told The Epoch Times that obtaining illicit fentanyl is as easy as ordering a pizza.

“I talk to all these moms [in Lost Voices of Fentanyl], and their kids go on social media and literally ordered drugs just like a pizza. It’s just like Uber Eats. Well, now it’s like Uber drugs,” Babcock said.

“Some of these parents in the group literally saw the dealer on their Ring. They’d pull up into their driveway, and their kid would run out. I mean, these pills are cheap.”

“We got fake Adderall pills on social media. Fake Xanax. Fake Percocet. I mean, all the pills are fake. These kids just don’t realize they’re literally buying death. They don’t know,” Babcock said.

Thomas agreed and added that when she’s given presentations at schools, kids have told her they hear about Percocet and Xanax in music videos, and when they buy pills over social media, that’s what they think they’re getting.

“But it’s not,” Thomas said.

“They need to know that six in 10 pills are … potentially deadly,” she said, citing Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) data.


Families Against Fentanyl reports that in 2021, fentanyl poisoning was the leading cause of death among Americans aged 18 to 45.

And, in 2021, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported that 4,765 children and young adults aged 14–23 died from synthetic opioids/fentanyl use—more than double the 1,984 deaths in 2018.

By Katie Spence

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