Local families spreading awareness of fentanyl deaths in the community

SPOKANE, Wash. — Local family members who lost their loved ones over fentanyl are now speaking up and bringing awareness to the community.

Bob Putnam still remembers the day of a tragedy that still makes him choke up every time.

“It was just like no god, no god, you can’t be letting this happen to my child,” Putnam said. “It’s hard to talk about that.”

His daughter, Gabby Putnam, died of a fentanyl overdose on September 18, 2021.

“I came home from what we are calling, changing life services here on Saturday night. My wife was asleep in bed. Shortly after I go home, I was holding my daughter in my arms under the bathroom. She was lifeless,” Putnam said.

Gabby was never able to re-gain consciousness. Five days later, she left her dad’s arms.

Now, at the corner of Division and Garland, a billboard stands that says “#FentanylAwareness.”

“We need more awareness,” said Sharon Murfin. “We need more people to talk about dangers. Our community needs to come together.”

Sharon Murfin, the organizer of the movement, says her grandchild Serenity accidentally got a hold of the fentanyl pills her father was using.

She was only 17 months old.

“My heart’s torn because I have watched so many people pass away,” Murfin said. “I get 50 to 60 people a day across my desk that have passed away from fentanyl.”

She says it’s scary because people who die from fentanyl are often young.

“Our community is scared to speak because they don’t want people to know their child died of fentanyl,” Murfin said.

It’s a reality that can happen anywhere in out community, even in local schools.

It’s really easy to feel that you are bulletproof. It’s really easy to bury your head in the sand and not recognize that this can happen to your child, this can happen to your family,” Putnam said.

If you want to help spread fentanyl awareness, you can make a donation to @Serenityfamilyoverfentanyl on Venmo.

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