Prescott Valley, Arizona, is currently mourning the death of two young men from their community.
Gunner Bundrick and Jake Morales, both 19 years old, were considered to be outstanding members of the city. The two high school football players were local stars, and they will surely be missed.
“Very popular on campus, around town,” said David Moran, their former football coach.
“They’ve created a lot of memories for our students and our coaches.”
On November 2., Gunner and Jake left home at 10 PM to attend a party. They returned home at 3:48 AM and were last seen alive roughly one hour later, eating pizza and playing video games.
At some point during the night, the teens acquired Percocet, a potent painkiller pill.
Later, investigations would reveal the pills had actually been secretly laced with 50% fentanyl.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid analgesic similar to morphine— but 50 to 100 times more potent. The effects can resemble those of heroin (i.e. euphoria and drowsiness), but it’s incredibly easy to overdose seeing as the lethal amount is literally as much as a few grains of sand. To put it into perspective, the fentanyl in the labeled container below (measuring approximately 3mg) is easily enough to kill a full-grown man.
We are now hearing reports of fentanyl-laced drugs like cocaine, marijuana, MDMA (or in this case, Percocet), meaning it’s all drug users at risk.
“Part of the challenge is just how potent fentanyl is that even a small amount, particularly in someone who doesn’t regularly use opioids, can be so deadly,” Dr. Sarah Wakeman, an addiction medicine physician, told Rolling Stone.
Brandi Bundrick Nishnick, Gunner’s aunt, revealed that in her nephew’s case, the amount of fentanyl that had been added to the pill was “enough poison to kill 10 adult males.”
In 2017, the CDC estimated there was a 10% increase in overdoses when compared to the year before. Out of the 70,000 cases reported, more than two-thirds had been caused by opiates— with fentanyl being credited as the main cause. “The rising overdose numbers make the drug epidemic more deadly than gun violence, car crashes or Aids, which have never killed as many people in a single year,” reported The Guardian. “It represents nearly 200 people dying from overdoses every day in 2017.”
Six hours after last being seen alive, Jake and Gunner were declared deceased. Now, Gunner’s family is speaking out. They are taking to Facebook to warn others of the dangers of drug use, Gunners’ aunt Brandi wrote a powerful post describing the teen’s story. “I’m sharing Gunner’s story because Gunner had a whole life ahead of him,” she wrote. “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.”
“One bad choice, one stupid minor mistake was all it took. Gunner never had a chance.”
“These aren’t the pills in your parent’s medicine cabinet,” she wrote. “They are made in someone’s garage who is trying to make a buck… a buck at the expense of our children.”
“Tell your kids Gunner’s story,” she pleaded.
“Show them his picture. I can’t describe the amount of pain my brother, sister-in-law and Gunner’s sisters are going through.
A pain that will NEVER end. A hole that will NEVER be filled. A life that will never be brought back.
A beautiful life. Gone forever.”