he took one-fourth of what he thought was a Xanax pill from a friend… Now, he’s gone forever

Mom looks to share her son’s tragic story at healthy opioid summit


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s been almost three years since Carrie Luther lost her son Tosh to an overdose. 

“He made a mistake and took something that wasn’t what he thought it was,” Luther said. “Now, he’s gone forever.” 

Luther says her son was having a hard time sleeping at night. 

On October 27, 2015, he took one-fourth of what he thought was a Xanax pill from a friend. 

“It wasn’t Xanax,” Luther said. “It was counterfeit, and it was fentanyl.” 

Luther says the small amount of fentanyl, an opioid, killed him within 30 minutes. 

Tosh was only 29. 

“You don’t have to be an addict to be susceptible to this,” the mother said. 

It’s a message she’s sharing Friday at the Healthy Tennessee Opioid Summit. 

Nonprofits, law enforcement, counselors, and lawmakers will discuss ways to fight the opioid epidemic and growing fentanyl deaths. 

“It’s important to me to let people know that this could happen to them or someone they love,” Luther said. 

Last year, 1268 people died from opioid-related overdoses in Tennessee, according to the Tennessee Department of Health. 

More than 600 of the overdoses were from prescription pills. 

500 were from fentanyl. 

“Fentanyl is so powerful that it only takes 2 to 3 milligrams to kill a grown adult,” said Shabbir Safdar, executive director of the Partnership for Safe Medicines. 

“That amount is less than what would fit on Lincoln’s head on a penny.” 

Safdar says most fentanyl overdoses come from counterfeit pills usually handed off between friends. 

“There’s no prescription pill that’s safe unless you get it from a licensed pharmacy,” Safdar said. 

It’s a warning Luther now spreads to young people and parents, hoping to save them from the pain she lives with every day. 

“You do not want to be that person lying in a casket because you made a mistake,” she said. 

The Healthy Tennessee Opioid Summit will take place Friday at the Hermitage Hotel downtown from 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. 


11 Responses

  1. WHY did this person’s son not go to a DOCTOR for a xanax?????

  2. tosh was an idiot, a drug addict and a liar. but, his parents are even worse. Tjeybare expliotung his death. just for a little fame they want to blame a pill company, not even folks. you should have told your kid never to take medicine thats not his. O ly a fool would do that. even if he thought is was a xannex oops it wasnt. whose fault ..the kids fault. if you dont use the drugs illegally YOU CANT DIE. ITS IMPOSSIBLE TO DIE OR EVEN OVERDOSE IF YOU DONT USE THE DRUGS. AMAZUNG HOW THAT WORKS.

  3. just what we need,another person that DID NOT ABIDE BY COMMON SENSE RULES AND PAID A TERRIBLE PRICE!!This is an excellent reason to cut off 10 million Americans.I am sorry for the loss too,but please-shut up and go awayone bad apple does spoil the barrel…..I’m truly sorry for the mother.I would gladly have taken what her son did.Maybe it would’ve killed me.At this point,that idea is highly appealing…………..she would have her son and my troubles would be over.

  4. I missed the time period first time thru…3 years ago, & now it’s national news? More hysteria fodder. Sorry, but I still stand by my assertion that a 29 year old man took illegal drugs and died; it’s sad, but it should not impact people with real health problems who have not caused the “epidemic.”

    Illegal drugs can kill you. This is not exactly a news flash.

  5. Why did this person not go to the doctor and get a PRESCRIPTION for xanax?????

  6. I don’t understand why the CDC, FDA, DEA aren’t warning people, actual voters about ILLICIT Fentanyl disguised as Vicodin Percocet Xanax Oxycontin. It’s killing people yet no official is warning. Instead they’re telling people it’s prescriptions that are killing people. Have been since for at least 5 years. I’m so sorry for your loss Mrs Luther. How was your son to know it wasn’t a real Xanax.

    • Dee, I agree. The other day I stumbled upon an article online about illicitly-manufactured fentanyl. It stated that the DEA was well aware of heroin spiked with illicit fentanyl and was well aware of counterfeit pills spiked with the substance as well. (This has happened before though not on such a large scale). Why in the hell did they not issue a warning about this when they had firsthand knowledge of it? Police could have issued warnings. Schools could have issued warnings. They just want to stick their heads in the sand and pretend that it’s prescription pills that are killing so many. It just really infuriates me.

    • They’re illegal drugs, folks. People who take illegal drugs –even if they look like legal ones– are not going to pay heed to CDC, FDA, or any other government agency warning. If the pill is counterfeit, it was obtained illegally. & if someone gets it from someone else, it’s still illegal, even if it looks like a prescribed pill.

  7. I am sorry for the woman’s loss. But what they’re using it for will have nothing to do with the root cause; one guy had illegal drugs (if they were laced w/fentanyl, they were illegal, not prescribed). Another guy took a drug that was not prescribed to him –therefore, he also took illegal drugs.

    This was a 29 year old man; by this time I can’t believe there’s a conscious human being in the country who doesn’t know that taking unknown drugs from “a friend” is not wise. I knew that as a teenager, & teenagers are supposed to be the very definition of lacking reasoning skills. I’m sorry, but the person responsible for this man’s death is this man. Period. He couldn’t sleep, he could’ve tried a benadryl or chamomile tea or going to his doctor. Many people have trouble sleeping, and most are not stupid enough to take unknown & illegal drugs for it. I suppose many will accuse me of lacking compassion, but if the entire country is happy to attack pain patients & demand they “be responsible for their ‘addiction,'” then this pain patient is going to expect this man to be responsible for his foolishness.

    They’re going to hysterically cut down/cut off even more pain meds. They’re going to hysterically cut down/cut off even more anti-anxiolytics.
    They’re going to hysterically cut down/cut off even more sleeping meds.
    This will cause many, many more legitimate patients to suffer & die. And it will do absolutely nothing about the supply of illegal drugs or stop the people taking them.

    I can easily imagine the suppliers and takers of illegal drugs laughing their butts off, seeing all these headless-chicken politicians & anti-opioid zealots slashing prescription medications while they, the illegal drug people, breeze on about their business. I would think that the legal & law enforcement structures are so busy going after legit doctors & patients & drug companies that the illegal drug suppliers have it much easier right now.

    • I am sorry for her loss but the pill that he took was from a friend and obviously wasn’t a legit prescription to boot. People taking pills like this are the ones making it hard on those of us who legit need the meds for pain so we can have a near normal life.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: