The family of an Arizona teen who died of an accidental fentanyl overdose is urging parents to warn their children of the dangers of non-prescription pills.
Earlier this month, 19-year-old best friends Gunnar Bundrick and Jake Morales died after they both took a pill laced with fentanyl.
In a Facebook post that has since gone viral, Bundrick’s aunt, Brandi Bundrick Nishnick says the pills were mislabeled as Percocet, but contained 50 per cent fentanyl. As the post notes, each pill contained enough of the powerful pain killer to kill 10 adult males.
Nishnick begins the post by thanking friends for their love and support and says she felt compelled to tell her nephew’s story in hopes that it would “clear up any misconceptions” and hopefully, save another child’s life.
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According to Nishnick, Bundrick and Morales went out with friends before returning to Bundrick’s house to play video games and eat pizza.
“At some point during the evening, Gunner, and his friend, took a pill stamped Percocet. The very popular and easily accessible painkiller,” Nishnick wrote. “Gunner has no history of drug use, has never been a ‘problem child’ and was a star athlete, wonderful son and brother and was extremely loved in his community.”
While it’s still unclear whose decision it was to take the pills or how they acquired them, Nishnick said that the family believes the boys decided to take them out of “curiosity” to see how it felt to feel high.
The boys were found by Bundrick’s mother, who along with Bundrick’s sisters, tried to resuscitate the boys who had reportedly been dead for hours.
“There was nothing they or the paramedics could do.”
The family learned that the pills were laced with what is believed to be more than 50 per cent fentanyl.
“According to the detective working on Gunner’s case, to draw comparison for perspective, two grains of table salt size of fentanyl will kill any adult,” Nishnick wrote. “Think about that. Gunner never had a chance.”
Nishnick remembers her nephew as someone who “had a whole life ahead of him.”
“He had goals and aspirations. He wanted to be a dad. He wanted to continue to play football and baseball in college. He wanted to go hunting and fishing with his grandpa. Gunner wasn’t done,” she said. “One bad choice, one stupid minor mistake was all it took.”
The family hopes that Gunner’s story will encourage parents to talk to their children about experimenting with drugs, noting that many children experiment with pills because they believe them to be safe.
“They’ve seen them in their parents medicine cabinets from their mom’s car accident last year, or from when their dad threw out his back,” she explained. “They seem harmless. These aren’t the pills in your parent’s medicine cabinet. They are made in someone’s garage who is trying to make a buck… a buck at the expense of our children’s lives.”
Nishnick hopes that her nephew’s story will help kids and parents alike to see that when it comes to experimenting “it’s truly a matter of life or death.”