LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – A Little Rock mother is on a journey to wipe the deadly opioid drug fentanyl off the streets after her son’s overdose.
On July 18, Kim King-Macon received the call that her son, Lawrence Pettus, had died at the age of 31. She described the day as “a day from hell.”
The deadly drug that claimed her son’s life and countless others around the world has led her to want to make a difference.
She said she is going to educate herself on the drug so she can pass the knowledge on to others.
King-Macon has dealt with heartbreak after heartbreak. Her three-year-old grandson was shot and killed six years ago and that led to her being an advocate for Victory Over Violence.
Now, her son is dead because of fentanyl and her mission is to help prevent it from happening to another person.
“Someone on the street may give you anything and you don’t know what they are putting in it,” King-Macon said. “I believe someone laced what he had with fentanyl.”
CDC data shows drug overdose death rates involving fentanyl increased by 24 percent from 2020 to 2021.
According to the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement, Arkansas had 386 opioid-related overdoses in 2021. Officials said about 150 people die from this type of opioid daily.
King-Macon said when her ex-husband found her son Lawrence, he used naloxone, but it was too late.
Naloxone is a prescription opioid overdose-reversal drug.
In early 2023, the FDA approved an over-the-counter version of naloxone and Arkansas amended the state’s naloxone access act which enlarged the number of people who can administer the drug and under what circumstances.
The ACHI says naloxone prescriptions quadrupled from 5,575 in 2021 to 25,987 in 2022.
A release from ACHI noted that the considerable increase followed a new requirement that healthcare providers in the state co-prescribe naloxone when prescribing high-dose opioids as well as in other circumstances.
King-Macon wants that number to keep rising so the number of fentanyl deaths can decline.
“It’s not worth another mother feeling like I feel,” she said. “I feel like someone has reached and grabbed my heart and they’re pulling it out. This is a day-to-day thing that I have to deal with.”