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DIGGING DEEPER: Mom turns grief into action after losing son to fentanyl overdose

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TUCSON (KVOA) - Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation to help prevent fentanyl overdoses. The bill was introduced by Sen. Christine Marsh who lost her son to a fentanyl overdose last year.

The Counter Narcotics Alliance told the Digging Deeper team there has been an overdose death each day in the city for the last two months.

"So that is going to rival last year's statistics when it comes to overdose deaths," John Leavitt, Tucson Police Captain and CNA commander said.

That was why Sen. Christine Marsh turned her grief into action.

Marsh introduced Senate Bill 1486 that would legalize fentanyl testing strips.

"This bill will help both the people who are battling with addiction and help the people who are experimenting, or as they call it, recreational drug users," Leavitt said.

The CNA commander was moved by the Senator's ability to want to help others after the death of her son.

"Keeping the focus on the dangerous street drugs is a very, very, important thing," he said. "I'm glad she did it."

Leavitt added there were over 450 overdose deaths in 2020. Of those, more than half were attributed to fentanyl.

Marsh's son, 25-year-old Landon Marsh was among the deaths.

"He bought something different a Percocet or something it had fentanyl in it, and it killed him," she said.

In March,  a seven-count indictment charged Brendin Malcolm Lopez Raygoza and Brady William Webber Graff with Landon's death.

His mother said he was an engineering student and had only been married 18 days.

"He would, without a doubt, want to make sure that you know his death helped save others from what he ultimately succumbed to," Marsh said.

Ducey signed the bill on May 18, the anniversary of her son's death. It will become law in 90 days.

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Lupita Murillo

Lupita Murillo is an investigative reporter. She is part of the Digging Deeper team that uncovers important issues focusing on crime that affects the community.

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