Teen dies of fentanyl overdose same week WPD finds 7,000 pills, first powder-form in Wichita
WICHITA, Kan. (KAKE) - Five years ago, almost to the day, David Gilkey got a call that's every parent's worst nightmare.
"I lost my son in 2017 to K2. Accidental drug overdose. Took his life and left three kids behind."
All these years later, Gilkey was taken back when he heard about 19-year-old Keith McCullough.
"Just another family going through a devastating situation, which is not only affecting the family, but the community and his friends, people that really cared about him," said Gilkey.
Last week, his family says McCullough took a drug he didn't realize was laced with fentanyl, and it cost him his life.
McCullough's mom pleads with other teens in his obituary, saying: "Please, don't let your mom find you the way I found my son - lifeless and forever 19."
"Over the last several years, we've seen a drastic increase in the amount of overdose deaths," said Wichita Police Detective Travis Rakestraw.
Rakestraw says the danger of fentanyl is that it takes an incredibly small amount to kill you. We're talking only about ten grains of salt worth.
"No one really knows how much fentanyl they're putting in them."
Last week, Wichita officers seized 7,000 fentanyl pills during a traffic stop, but Rakestraw says local cops recently discovered something else here that's even more concerning – fentanyl powder.
"The powder's what's scary. Because it does take such a small, fine amount to be a lethal dose. And so when you get that in the hands of people that don't know what they're doing, they're just sprinkling it on meth and cocaine and heroin and everything else, it poses a significant risk to people," said Rakestraw.
Rakestraw says officers will continue working to find solutions, but Gilkey says it will take the whole community to make a difference, and he's leading by example for anyone who wants help.
"You can come to our location, which is at the Orpheum building on the fourth floor downtown. Me and my wife will be more than happy to speak with that individual. We got a good staff there," said Gilkey.