Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes ofwebsite accessibilityMoms whose sons overdosed turn grief into action to combat Washington's fentanyl crisis | KFXL
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Moms whose sons overdosed turn grief into action to combat Washington's fentanyl crisis


These three women all lost children due to accidental overdoses of fentanyl. In each case, the young men who died thought they were taking Percocet and had no idea it was actually a counterfeit pill filled with fentanyl. (KOMO)
These three women all lost children due to accidental overdoses of fentanyl. In each case, the young men who died thought they were taking Percocet and had no idea it was actually a counterfeit pill filled with fentanyl. (KOMO)
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Their loss left them devastated, but three local moms whose children died from fentanyl poisoning are now at the forefront of helping other families avoid the same tragedy.

Carol Schweigert, Lori Carpenter, and Genevieve Pehlivanian are all involved in promoting education about the dangers of this powerful and too often deadly opioid.

Schweigert’s son Trey thought he was taking a Percocet pain pill, as did Pehlivanian’s son Trygve, but both unintentionally ingested lethal doses of fentanyl. Carpenter’s son, Garrett Arendse, was with friends when he thought he was taking Percocet, but a single pill proved deadly.

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“I was really confused because I'm like, first of all, an overdose? My kid doesn't do drugs,” Pehlivanian remembers thinking when the medical examiner called.

The cause of death came as a complete shock to Schweigert as well, and despite her grief, Carpenter felt she had to do something.

“I knew I had to get the word out. I had to let people know,” Carpenter said.

Slowly, the mothers decided they needed to turn their loss into a chance to help others and share a warning they hadn't heard in time.

“It took me probably at least a couple of years to pick myself up off the floor and try to turn this into something where I could help save lives,” Schweigert said.

RELATED: 'CPS should've saved her': Family of baby who died from likely fentanyl exposure outraged

While the circumstances of their deaths were different, the mothers said all three of their children ended up taking counterfeit pills when they thought they were taking Percocet. It is a message these moms are now taking to schools and the streets.

“What I try to get across to the kids is you do not know what is in any of these drugs,” Pehlivanian said.

All three mothers have spoken at school assemblies or in health classes. Schweigert and Carpenter have also taken part in a rally in Washington, D.C., and Pehlivanian is currently working with students on a video that documents her family’s story.

However, these moms said not enough families are hearing these warnings, and the overdose crisis is just getting worse. One thing they think could help is a statewide, mandated public awareness campaign that would be taught at multiple grade levels at school.

They also urge parents to talk to their kids about fentanyl not just once but regularly before the drug snatches another life away.

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“If I can save one person, then I've done something,” Carpenter said.

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