Jennifer Volbrecht spoke exclusively to The U.S. Sun about the loss of her son to a counterfeit pill
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A MOTHER saw her son dying in a Snapchat video after the teen took a counterfeit pill and was filmed by onlookers instead of helped.

Jennifer Volbrecht spends her time educating children and parents on the illicit fentanyl crisis that robbed her and many others of their children.

Jennifer Volbrecht spoke exclusively to The U.S. Sun about the loss of her son to a counterfeit pill

Jennifer Volbrecht spoke exclusively to The U.S. Sun about the loss of her son to a counterfeit pillCredit: Jennifer Volbrecht
Brian Wilkins Jr. died in 2021 after unknowingly taking a lethal dose of fentanyl

Brian Wilkins Jr. died in 2021 after unknowingly taking a lethal dose of fentanylCredit: Jennifer Volbrecht

Brian Wilkins Jr. from Coral County, Florida, died in 2021 as a result of fentanyl poisoning after he took what he believed was a Percocet but was a “random mixed pill” of fentanyl and MDMA.

Fentanyl is the leading cause of death for adults in the US between the ages of 18 to 45, according to the CDC and yet many people have never heard of it.

The high school senior was suffering from dental pain and came across someone on Snapchat who would supposedly provide him with relief.

That supplier was allegedly a local 16-year-old boy whom Brian met on the app before going to his house to take the Percocet.

Volbrecht believed that Brian was at a concert in Tampa before they got a call from an “acquaintance” of her son saying “I heard Brian is overdosing, let me give you an address.”

What followed has left her “forever haunted,” according to her account on her organization’s website Families Fighting Fentanyl.

“There was a video posted of him on Snapchat,” she wrote.

“He was dead in the video. They were pouring water on him and smacking his face around. An image I will forever be haunted with.”

Discussing this horrifying incident with The U.S. Sun, Volbrecht explained that while she waited outside the home, police handed over her son’s phone and the horrifying video immediately popped up.

“His new girlfriend filmed it and posted it to her story which in turn everybody else who had her added, or my son added, shared it, so it went crazy through Snapchat and that’s how everybody found out,” she said.

“He was clearly dead in the video. I think they just let him lie there according to the medical examiner about 45 minutes in full cardiac arrest and they didn’t do anything but videotape him.

“They didn’t call for help. Did nothing.”

“This is not the way any parent should have to see their child. Cold, blue, lifeless, and dead,” she wrote on her website.

An increasing number of parents are witnessing this tragedy with 1,500 children under the age of 20 dying from fentanyl in the US in 2021, four times as many as in 2018, according to Julie Gaither of the Yale School of Medicine.

“I’d never heard of fentanyl before his death,” Volbrecht said, adding that she finds the accessibility of these drugs to teenagers “sickening.”

In 2022, the DEA seized over 59.6 million fake pills laced with fentanyl and over 13,300 lbs of fentanyl powers.

These equate to more than 397 million lethal doses of the drug with just 2mg of the drug being potentially lethal, according to the DEA.

So far this year 86 million fentanyl pills have been seized, exceeding last year’s total as lab results show that 7 out of every 10 pills seized have a lethal dose of the drug.

Despite increased efforts by the authorities to clamp down on the issue, Volbrecht is worried saying: “I already think there’s enough fentanyl in the United States to kill every American more than once.”

In addition to these concerns and the lack of education about the drug, she worries about its accessibility for teenagers and the lack of punishments for those involved.

Despite her son’s death being filmed and shared on Snapchat and that Brian communicated with the alleged teenage dealer on the app, no charges have been brought against the boy who is now an adult.

What is Fentanyl?

Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid of which there are two types: Pharmaceutical Fentanyl and Illicitly Manufactured Fentanyl (IMF).

It is 100 times stronger than morphine and the pharmaceutical type is prescribed following surgery and advanced cancer.

IMF comes in multiple forms in the drug market and is commonly mixed with other drugs such as heroin.

It can also be made into pills that can look like other prescription medications, making them extremely dangerous.

Pills containing fentanyl are impossible to identify without test strips but even these can give false results.

“Basically, we were told because there was no correspondence between Brian and the boy that day, they couldn’t prove that that is where it came from,” she explained.

“There was correspondence the whole week prior but because there was none that night they basically just gave up.”

As well as this blow, the mother was also informed that she would not be able to join in a lawsuit against Snapchat that has been launched by parents of children who died from fentanyl poisoning from pills they allegedly got via the app.

“There wasn’t enough evidence that could be preserved related to my son’s death,” Volbrecht said as to why she was unable to join the lawsuit.

The suit filed in Los Angeles in October 2022 against Snapchat’s parent company Snap Inc., alleges that the social media platform enables drug dealers to reach out and contact minors and young adults.

Over 60 parents whose children allegedly obtained fatal drugs via the app are part of the ongoing legal fight.

The lawsuit alleges that “the app’s unique features make it difficult for parents to police the content their children are viewing and simple for drug dealers to find young people online, according to the Social Media Victims Law Center which is representing the families in the lawsuit.

“Through the use of Snap Map, which pinpoints a user’s geographical location, drug dealers have instant access to thousands of young people in their communities, allowing them to target potential customers.

“As a result, drugs have become increasingly easy for kids to access, purchase, and have delivered straight to their front doors.”

The Social Media Victims Law Center encourages those who believe they may have a case for the lawsuit to apply for an evaluation.

At a DEA summit in Miami last month for families affected by overdoses and drug poisonings, Volbrecht’s local DEA agent informed her that she had requested Brian’s file to take another look at the case.

“I don’t know if anything is going to happen with that but at least they’re taking a look at it and it would be on a federal level instead of state.

“Even if nothing happens with this, if things change and laws change and they start taking things a little bit more seriously, in some way, Brian has set some kind of precedence, we all have honestly, all the kids that have passed away.

“I wish they had (taken a harder look) at my son’s case but I’m starting to see more and more harsher penalties and they are really trying to prosecute the cases. 

In October Brandon Albanito from Cape Coral was sentenced to over 21 years in federal prison for manufacturing counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl, according to the Attorney’s Office.

“I support (increased prosecutions) 100% but it breaks my heart a little bit that nothing could have happened with Brian but I’m not giving up hope yet.”

As bereaved parents, authorities, and law enforcement attempt to clamp down on the crisis, Volbrecht has a key message for parents.

“Don’t ever think that it can’t happen to your child,” she said.

“Fentanyl doesn’t discriminate.

“It can affect the best kids in the world athletes and honor roll students. Tell your kids to let their friends know.”

The U.S. Sun has reached out to Snapchat for comment.

Volbrecht spends much of her time educating children and adults on the dangers of fentanyl and that 'it does not discriminate'

Volbrecht spends much of her time educating children and adults on the dangers of fentanyl and that ‘it does not discriminate’Credit: Jennifer Volbrecht
Volbrecht explained that she hopes Brian's story will help save the lives of others as official moves are being made to tackle the drug crisis

Volbrecht explained that she hopes Brian’s story will help save the lives of others as official moves are being made to tackle the drug crisisCredit: Jennifer Volbrecht

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