Family of Kansas teen killed by fentanyl poisoning shares story, issues warning
WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - The family of 16-year-old Cooper Davis talked about how close they were and what he meant to them as they also convey a message that they hope can keep others from having to grieve a life taken too soon.
In August 2021, Davis’ family said he took half of a pill of what he thought was Percocet. That half pill was spiked with a fatal dose of fentanyl.
Davis had recently started his junior year at Mill Valley High School in Shawnee.
His cousin, Zoie Ecord, who lives in the Wichita area, talked about the time she enjoyed with Davis. That family time, she said “was never boring.”
His desire for thrill and adventure, his family says, pushed Davis to experiment.
“Cooper had been struggling with a little bit was just pushing the limits and trying some recreational drugs,” said his aunt Jenny Ecord, Zoie’s mother. “We were aware of it and our family had really rallied around him to help him. His parents were amazing. They did absolutely everything and the whole family supported that.”
But on August 29th, Davis’ family said, he took the half pill that proved to be fatal.
“Cooper was my first nephew born, so I kind of had a special place in my heart from the very beginning. You know, it’s a phone call I never thought I would get,” said Jenny Ecord. “I just really thought that we would be able to reach him, and he would be okay.”
At Davis’ funeral “full of high school kids,” she said the family gave out the message.
“But we needed to go farther than that,” Jenny Ecord said.
Davis’ family created an initiative called “Keepin’ Clean for Coop.” On April 25th, what would have been his 17th birthday, everyone was encouraged to wear blue, his favorite color.
The family shared their tragedy with fentanyl in hopes of preventing heartbreak for others.
“If it hasn’t been given to you, prescribed to you, and picked up at a pharmacy, it’s not safe,” Jenny Ecord said. “There’s no guarantees.”
Davis’ 18-year-old cousin, Zoie Ecord, wears a shirt hoping to spread the message: “One pill can kill.”
“You do not know what’s in it and you don’t know where it came from. You may trust the person you go it from, but they got it from someone else and they got it from someone else,” she said.
Davis’ family is on “a mission for Coop.”
“He was an advocate to other kids to not following in his footsteps,” Jenny Ecord said. “He maybe couldn’t help himself, but he tried to help other people. So, I think this is a perfect way for us to honor him and carry that on for him.”
With the “Keepin’ Clean for Coop” campaign started after Davis’ death; the teen’s family is raising awareness of counterfeit pills like the one that killed him. They have a billboard on Interstate 70 with the message: “Start the Conversation. One Pill Can Kill.”
This fall in Wichita, there will also be an Overdose Awareness and Memorial Walk. The Phoenix, a Wichita gym focused on addiction recovery, is hosting the second annual walk on Sunday, October 2, at Brightwater Bay.
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