As fentanyl claims yet another young American life, Kentucky father shares his story

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Alan Reed makes a near-daily visit to the grave site of his son Brandon in Richmond, Kentucky. 

Alan introduced Brandon to fishing when he was a little boy. As adults, it remained a passion they shared.

When Alan drove Brandon to an addiction treatment center in Branson, Missouri, they stopped at a spot they called the “big rock” on the Cumberland River to fish once again, before Brandon made another attempt to get clean.

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Alan took a picture of Brandon at their fishing hole. 

That shot is now laser-engraved on Brandon’s headstone.

“I had no idea when I took this picture, I’d be using it for this purpose,” Alan said quietly, standing over his son’s grave. 

Alan Reed, who lost his son to fentanyl, makes a near-daily visit to his son's grave in Richmond, Kentucky. 

Alan Reed, who lost his son to fentanyl, makes a near-daily visit to his son’s grave in Richmond, Kentucky. 
(Fox News)

“Losing a child is the hardest thing that can ever happen to a parent. It’s out of the natural order,” he also said. 

Growing up, Brandon fished and played baseball, but a pickup basketball game resulted in a knee injury and multiple surgeries.  

He was prescribed Oxycontin, an opiate, for the pain.  

Brandon was in and out of treatment centers, but he survived until he encountered fentanyl in October of 2021.

“It was a very popular drug, and one thing led to another,” said Alan Reed.

“There’s a lot of parents who could tell this very same story that I’m telling right now. The end result has been catastrophe,” he told Fox News.

The catastrophe spread out over the years. Brandon followed the typical and heartbreaking patterns of addicts. 

Alan Reed talked to Fox News about his son Brandon's death from a fentanyl overdose. 

Alan Reed talked to Fox News about his son Brandon’s death from a fentanyl overdose. 
(Fox News)

He lost jobs. He lied to and stole from family members. 

Alan used to buy his son guitars because they shared a love of music — but the guitars would find their way to a pawn shop and the money would find its way to a dealer. 

Brandon was in and out of treatment centers, but he survived until he encountered fentanyl in October of 2021.

He purchased opiates from a woman and fentanyl was part of the street mix. Brandon overdosed, but users and dealers are aware of the dangers of opiates — and some keep the life-saving drug Narcan close by. 

“She revived him with Narcan,” said Alan. 

One needs to understand the desperation in the mind of an opiate addict — and the madness in the world of users.

To understand what happened next, one needs to understand the desperation in the mind of an opiate addict — and the madness in the world of users. Brandon went back for more drugs. 

“Then she drove him to get his last dose. And later that night, Brandon took his fatal dose at his girlfriend’s apartment,” says Alan. 

“He died in the bathroom.”

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Brandon is just one example. 

Kentucky has the misfortune of passing a grim milestone — 2,000 overdose deaths in a year. 

Brandon Reed was revived once by Narcan. He went back again for more drugs — and took his fatal dose at a girlfriend's apartment.

Brandon Reed was revived once by Narcan. He went back again for more drugs — and took his fatal dose at a girlfriend’s apartment.
(Craig F. Walker/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)

The Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy reports that 73% of those deaths are linked to fentanyl.

Tom Loving, director of the Warren County, Kentucky, drug task force, says that in addition to drugs like methamphetamine, his agents are seizing an increasing number of fentanyl pills every year. 

So far this year, the Warren County task force has seized 14,055 fentanyl pills. There’s no way to tally the drugs that made it past the cops and to the street.

In Warren County alone, drug agents nabbed 2,022 fentanyl pills in 2020. Their take more than doubled in 2021, with 4,293 pills seized.

So far this year, the Warren County task force has seized 14,055 fentanyl pills. 

There is no way to tally the drugs that made it past the cops and to the street.

Loving blames insecurity and chaos at the U.S. southern border.

"There's a lot of parents that could tell this very same story that I'm telling right now," said Alan Reed of his late son's drug addiction. 

“There’s a lot of parents that could tell this very same story that I’m telling right now,” said Alan Reed of his late son’s drug addiction. 

“The border was much more secure from drug trafficking, I think, in the 2019-2020 era,” he said, noting the unchecked flow of migrants across the border. 

“Along with that is the drug trafficking and the flow of drugs into this country winding up in communities like Bowling Green, Kentucky.”

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The amount of fentanyl seized at the border is increasing as well. 

Customs and Border Protection reports that 4,588 pounds of fentanyl were stopped at the border in 2020.

That number jumped to 10,856 in 2021. 

This year is on track to set the record — 10,071 pounds seized, with four months still to go. 

Just like the local seizures, there is no tally for the drugs that got past Border Protection.

Fentanyl seized by law enforcement, above. The death of Brandon Reed resulted in an investigation by the Warren County drug task force, and enablers and dealers were caught and indicted. 

Fentanyl seized by law enforcement, above. The death of Brandon Reed resulted in an investigation by the Warren County drug task force, and enablers and dealers were caught and indicted. 
(CBP)

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, Kentucky’s senior senator, puts the blame on the president.   

“This dereliction of duty at the border by the Biden administration is outrageous and unacceptable,” McConnell said. “Until they get control of the border, this is going to continue to go up, and [it] is going to continue to create an ongoing catastrophe.”

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The death of Brandon Reed resulted in an investigation by the Warren County drug task force. 

Enablers and dealers were caught and indicted. 

Alan Reed of Kentucky says he has "a grave to visit and photo albums to flip through" to remember his son — the little boy he once taught to fish.

Alan Reed of Kentucky says he has “a grave to visit and photo albums to flip through” to remember his son — the little boy he once taught to fish.
(iStock)

“We indicted 10 people engaging in organized crime — two people for being responsible for selling Brandon the drugs that killed him,” says Loving. 

“So, he made quite a case out of that, and several people should be going to prison as a result.”

That’s too late for Alan Reed. 

After years of his son’s struggles and the failed attempts at rehab, the father has a grave to visit and photo albums to flip through — all to remember the boy he taught to fish. 

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“If you do it long enough, it’s like rolling the dice,” says Alan Reed, the grieving father. 

“Eventually, you’ll hit the fatal dose.”  



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