By Karen Morfitt
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DENVER (KCNC) — Today 16-year-old Keegan Pyron is back in class and working alongside his peers. Just a few months ago he was living a much different story, clinging to what little of life he had left.
“When I went out, I only did fentanyl and meth. That’s all I stuck to and eventually the places I went to stopped selling meth because they are all just selling fentanyl,” he said.
His addiction he says started long before he reached that point. Pyron says he tried marijuana for the first time at 11 years old, and before he was even a teenager he started experimenting with pills.
“Whether it was my family or if I was at a friend’s house for a sleepover. I mean I was in 7th grade so if I was visiting a friend’s house or my family, I went to someone’s house for dinner the first thing I would do was look in the medicine cabinet,” he said.
From there his addiction started spiraling out of control.
“Eventually I couldn’t steal from my parents or other people’s parents or friends, I started buying more things off the street and that grew into its own separate thing,” he said.
His first exposure to fentanyl was through another drug.
“It felt better, and I liked it more than what I was doing, so I decided I’m not going to try and go to another dealer. I’m going to go to that same guy because I knew he was going to give me this and I liked it,” Pyron said.
He knew the risks associated with fentanyl or drugs laced with it, but he says the fear of dying was not as powerful as his urge to get high.
“All the worry I had, the concern I had, all the people telling me that it would kill me instantly, it was just I don’t care about that all anymore,” he said.
He overdosed twice, which is part of what pushed him to get help, and how he found 5280 High School, a school for teens in recovery.
“It varies on a case by case. What has happened is fentanyl is so prevalent in our communities. Kids may be looking for cocaine. They may be looking for meth, maybe heroin, maybe they are looking for marijuana, but fentanyl is everywhere and its cheap and it’s easy to get,” Keith Hayes said.
Hayes is the Director of Recovery for the school. Last fall one of their students passed away from a fentanyl overdose.
“We were trying to get her the help that she needed. We were trying to get her into treatment, but she had Medicaid and because of her social economic status there are very few Medicaid beds in the community. She was on a three to six month waiting list,” he said.
With fentanyl Hayes says your next high could be your last, and if it is in the community more focus needs to be put on treatment.
“I would love to be able to have resources available to be able to get kids the proper treatment when they need it,” he said he is talking with politicians and city leaders about making those changes.
For Pyron the loss of that classmate, and his friend was a wakeup call.
“The effect it had on such a large amount of people, and it broke my heart, and I didn’t want to be that person,” Pyron said.
Now five months sober he has his grades back on track, is looking at college, advocating for changes in Colorado drug laws and is sharing his story with one hope.
“I want to share my experience so other people don’t have to live it and if they are living it to know that it does get better and it is going to be ok,” Pyron said.
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