North Texas Mother to Host Fentanyl Awareness Event After Teen Son's Death

north texas mother to host fentanyl awareness event after teen son's death

NBC 5 News

Nearly every evening, Victoria Ketter and her family gather in the only place where they can still be with her son.

It’s been almost two months since she got the call that her oldest, Johnathan Helmke, was found dead after taking what he thought was Percocet.

“It’s a day I relive every day. I relive it every day in my head, in my dreams. It’s just kind of on replay,” said Ketter.

In the days to come, she learned the pill Johnathan took was actually laced with fentanyl, the synthetic opioid that’s become the leading cause of death for Americans ages 18 to 45.

According to the DEA, it’s 50 to 100 times stronger than morphine.

And like in Johnathan’s case, often disguised as something else.

“Johnathan wasn’t a drug addict. It wasn’t like he was a heroin addict and he got a bad batch that had fentanyl in it. Johnathan took one pill and within minutes it claimed his life, and he had no idea what he was consuming,” she said.

Denton Police recently arrested Bryson Towers and Joshua Adams and charged both with a felony for allegedly supplying the fentanyl that killed Johnathan.

Still, Ketter worries for others.

“I don’t want to see another parent suffer like we are,” said Ketter.

In the weeks following her son’s death, Ketter has channeled her grief into a mission.

On Aug. 21, she’ll host the first annual Fentanyl Prevention and Awareness Event in Johnathan’s memory at 1 p.m. at Pavillion three in North Lakes Park.

The event will include fun for kids, including bounce houses, snow cones and Spiderman, and education for teens and adults, including a chance to talk with a narcotics officer and hear from other mothers who’ve buried their children.

“We’ve got banners stretching 40-50 feet long with all the babies we’ve lost from this,” she said.

That includes her Johnathan, whose memory she is determined to keep alive.

“Even if one life is saved, I’ve done my job. I’ve done something,” said Ketter.

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