Grieving mom finds purpose fighting fentanyl deaths

After losing her 35-year-old son to fentanyl, Melanie Madden was driven to a new sense of purpose to help prevent more needless deaths from the deadly substance.

“I feel like I have a mission to get the message to our lawmakers to do something about the flooding of fentanyl into our country,” she told KIRO-TV. “If I can save another family or mom from losing their child – that is my mission.”

Melanie is fighting an uphill battle. A recent report from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security revealed that America experiences the equivalent loss of life from fentanyl as a Sept. 11 disaster every other week.

According to Wikipedia, fentanyl is often mixed in with other recreational drugs, unbeknown to users. Yet, it is 100 times stronger than morphine and 50 times more powerful than heroin. Just 2 milligrams of fentanyl is enough to cause a lethal reaction, the Drug Enforcement Administration explained. That means just one ounce of the drug contains more than 14,000 deadly doses.

Melanie’s son, Tyler, faced an on-again, off-again addiction to the drug, starting when he was a senior in high school. He succumbed to an overdose in January, just days before he was scheduled to enter another treatment program, she told KIRO.

She described Tyler as an athletic, but quiet and sensitive young man who was both receiving treatment himself while providing support to other addicts trying to get sober.

Today, Melanie is trying to convince political and community leaders of the need to take action to get the drug off the street and to help those who use fentanyl to overcome its addictive influence.

Melanie’s interview with KIRO-TV can be found at

Image: A lethal dose of heroin compared to one of fentanyl – Photo from New Hampshire State Police