A 17-year-old high school football player died Sunday morning after he overdosed on fentanyl, The Citizen-Times of Asheville, N.C., reported.
Matthew Chapman stole patches of the powerful painkiller and placed one on each arm earlier that day, according to the newspaper.
As his Erwin High School classmates prepared to attend his memorial service Wednesday, Matthew’s father, Will, told the newspaper that teenagers need to be aware of the consequences of prescription drug abuse.
“My son had no idea what he was dealing with,” Chapman said. “It’s got to be told. Other teenagers don’t need to be doing this.”
Emergency room doctors in the United States are reporting an increase in deaths related to the abuse of fentanyl, which is 50 times stronger than heroin if taken intravenously, according to a 2007 Centers for Disease Control report.
Federal agencies have also reported an increase in fentanyl-related deaths, The Citizen-Times reports.
Will Chapman told the newspaper his son’s troubles started last year with a marijuana arrest.
“He started making bad choices — and it doesn’t take long,” he said. “I just couldn’t reach him.”