Parents Speaking Out on Father’s Day Weekend On Tragic Losses from Counterfeit Drugs

By Michele Hanisee


Father’s Day is traditionally a time for celebrating the bond between fathers and their children. However, for some fathers, this occasion is a painful reminder of the tragic loss they have experienced due to counterfeit drugs. These grieving fathers are now stepping forward, breaking their silence, and demanding justice for their children who unwittingly consumed lethal substances disguised as harmless medications like Valium, Oxycodone, or Xanax. This Father’s Day weekend, their stories resonate as a stark warning about the grave consequences of the counterfeit drug epidemic.


Over 100,000 Americans died last year due to overdoses, and in many of these cases, fentanyl was the poisonous ingredient that led to their death. Fentanyl poisoning has become the #1 killer of adults aged 18-45 in the United States, surpassing car accidents and suicides.


Fentanyl is often consumed unknowingly, as it is mixed in with other drugs, or disguised as less dangerous prescription drugs. People think they were taking Adderall, Percocet, Xanax, or some other prescription drug and get poison instead. Life-threatening effects can occur in as little as two minutes, and it only takes a hundred-thousandths of an ounce (0.00007) which is an amount less than a tip of a pencil, to kill somebody.


Sadly, our state legislature and Attorney General, Rob Bonta, have failed to take action to address this public health and public safety crisis.


On Friday, I joined with fathers of fentanyl victims at a press conference in front of the Los Angeles offices of the Attorney General. These courageous fathers are no longer willing to remain silent. They stood in front of the Attorney General’s office and told heartbreaking stories of finding their teenage and young adult children dead in their bedrooms from fentanyl overdoses. They are urging Attorney General Bonta to put pressure on our legislators in Sacramento to take action. And the action they are seeking is so minimal, it is difficult to understand why any person with common sense would not support the legislation.


Alexandra’s law is named for the beautiful daughter of Matt Capuletto, who died of a fentanyl overdose after ingesting what she thought was a prescription drug. Alexandra’s law would require that when a person is convicted of selling fentanyl they be admonished that if they sell this lethal drug again in the future, and a person dies as a result of ingesting the fentanyl they sold, that they could potentially be charged with murder.


That is all these fathers were asking for. A warning. Yet our legislature has refused to enact this simple, and commonsense requirement.


On this Father’s Day, as families come together to celebrate the role of fathers, it is essential to remember those fathers who have been robbed of the opportunity to watch their children grow and thrive. By speaking out and demanding action from Attorney General Rob Bonta, these grieving fathers honor their children’s memory and strive to prevent others from suffering the same fate. Their heartfelt stories serve as a somber reminder that the fight against counterfeit drugs is a battle for justice and the protection of our loved ones.


Michele Hanisee is President of the Association of Los Angeles Deputy District Attorneys, the collective bargaining agent representing nearly 1,000 Deputy District Attorneys who work for the County of Los Angeles.

Recommended Posts