Winston-Salem mother searches for answers after son dies from fentanyl overdose

For six long months, Andrea Scales didn’t know for sure how her only son died.

It took that long for a toxicology screen run by the state medical examiner’s office to come back with a ruling: fentanyl poisoning.

Someone slipped her son what he surely thought was a Percocet pill. Instead, the pill contained fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid similar to morphine, and it took his life.

Jeremiah “J5” Scales, an accomplished athlete at Parkland High School, was 19 years old.

“I knew nothing about fentanyl … one Percocet doesn’t kill you,” Scales said. “It was the last thing I ever expected.”

Now, a little over a year since she buried Jeremiah, she’s decided to see if she could save another mother from feeling the same crushing pain.

She allowed a photo of her son to be included on a month-long billboard campaign to educate and raise awareness about an epidemic that has killed thousands of North Carolinians.

“It just hurts … extremely painful to live without your only child,” Scales said. “Yes, I’m all for educating other people about it and doing whatever I can do.”

Read the full article on the Winston-Salem Journal website (subscription may be required).

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