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A father who lost his son to fentanyl is traveling the country raising awareness

Jeff Johnston is sharing his deeply personal story in different cities across the U.S. This week he stopped in Carlsbad.
A father who lost his son to fentanyl is traveling the country raising awareness
Posted at 5:55 PM, Aug 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-15 20:08:40-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — A father who lost his son to fentanyl is now turning the greatest pain of his life into purpose.

Jeff Johnston is touring the country – raising awareness about the deadly drug. This week he’s here in San Diego.

Johnston shared with 10News that it was an early morning in October of 2016 when he picked up the phone and learned the unmanageable.

“Our oldest son Seth was found dead in a hotel room in Iowa overdosed…his heroin was laced with fentanyl he never made it out of his chair…needle in his arm and the tourniquet laying on his bed,” he said.

As if that wasn’t enough, Johnston’s wife Prudence died from alcoholism last year.

Facing overwhelming grief, he says he saw two possible roads in front of him: “A road of anger, despair and hatred and we end up becoming addicts or alcoholics or attics ourselves or a road of inspiration and motivation.”

Since May, Johnston has been driving around the country in an RV speaking about mental health and substance abuse and partnering with local organizations in different cities.

This week, he spoke in Carlsbad alongside Scott H. Silverman, the founder of Confidential Recovery, a San Diego organization raising awareness that fentanyl is everywhere.

“There’s some young person somewhere at a party and someone says, hey, you have to try this xanax…and it’s laced with fentanyl,” he said.

Silverman says it’s estimated that 80% of illicit drugs right now are laced with fentanyl.

It's why he says San Diego needs more educational campaigns like Johnston’s to reach kids and families before it’s too late.

“If we don’t do that then we’re going to see a whole generation lost,” he said.