LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — It's not just a pill, but many young people are making the deadly mistake of thinking all pills are the same. However, many are laced with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid.
One man wants to sound the alarm for Clark County youth by warning them about the dark dangers of popping random pills. Sometimes, it takes a recovering addict to reach out and warn those who want to try a drug, yet are unaware of the deadly consequences.
The drug enforcement administration reports 40 percent of counterfeit pills coming into the United States from drug traffickers are laced with deadly amounts of fentanyl.
Landynn Meyers is one of the lucky ones who survived his drug abuse. He's a recovering addict who took his first sip of alcohol at age three, got drunk for the first time at seven, started smoking weed at ten, and started selling and doing hard drugs soon after.
Then one day, his heart stopped, and he was in the hospital.
"I was sick and tired of what I was doing," said Landynn Meyers, Mission High School graduate and current employee as a peer-recovery specialist and campus security monitor. "This disease runs in my family. I wanted to show everyone that there is a different path. I wanted to be a leader. I wanted to build my own legacy. I didn't want my funeral to just be, 'he did drugs. He's a criminal'. He did this and did that. I want it to be, 'he saved my life. He helped me'."
Meyers now wants to warn local young people about the dangers of random pill popping.
Clark county experienced a 196 percent increase in fentanyl related overdoses between 2019 and 2020, an alarming trend that's growing among middle-schoolers. In 2020 and 2021, 16 kids under the age of 18 in the county died from a fentanyl overdose. Detectives say many didn't even know what was in the pills they took.
"Every pill out here that I hear about is laced with something," Meyers said. "Whether it's fentanyl, meth or heroine. None of it is real unless you're getting it from a doctor. It's so unsafe to take pills or anything you don't know about. Being a little kid, taking a pill that has fentanyl in it, you're going to die like that."
Meyers will be celebrating his four years sober soon, and is now dedicated to helping others who are struggling with the same issues. The 18-year-old graduated last year from Mission High School and is now the school's peer-recovery specialist.
"Seeing my cousin and my little sister wanting to come here makes me so proud," Meyers said. "They see what I'm doing, and they know there is a difference. There's a way out."