HOLLYWOOD, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida mother is hoping to spread awareness after her son died from fentanyl use, turning her grief into a mission to help others.

Lillie Carlson’s son, Colin, was just 18 when he died from an accidental fentanyl overdose in 2020. He had taken a Xanax he bought on Snapchat to help him sleep. He took one pill and dosed off.

“He was 18 years, 1 month and 3 days old when he died, with a whole future in front of him,” said Carlson, “and he didn’t make it to morning.”

Doctors said they are seeing more and more fentanyl in patients who have no idea they had ingested the deadly drug.

“It’s a 100 to a thousand times more potent than your typical pain medication,” said pharmacy coordinator Dr. Sam Sotelo.

Just a few months ago, a group of spring breakers went into immediate cardiac arrest when they bought and took cocaine laced with fentanyl.

The talk with your kids about drugs just got a whole lot more serious.

“There’s so many things out there, so many pitfalls, but right now we happen to have one in South Florida that’s deadly,” said social worker Dr. Claudia Vicencio.

Since losing her son, Carlson has made it her life’s work to help parents understand what’s at stake.

“They didn’t know that you can buy drugs on social media,” said Carlson. “It was kind of shocking, and then it deletes 24 hours later.”

Social media may be new, but a parent’s most effective tool is talking.

“Really just talking to your kids about, like at any point, you can be taking something, not know what’s in it, and then has fentanyl in it,” said Vicencio.

“I just want teens to know, you know, teens should have the chance to make mistakes, and in this day and age, they don’t. One pill can kill,” said Carlson.

Some hospitals, like Memorial Regional in Hollywood, are offering patients and families the drug Narcan, which can be administered at home in case of a tragic emergency.

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