FRANKFORT, Ky. — Three Kentucky mothers who lost their sons to illicit fentanyl are working to raise awareness about the substance and calling on the Legislature to change state law.
Ashley Green told lawmakers Tuesday that when she learned in 2019 that she was pregnant with her son Cassius “Cash” Ballanger, she got into recovery from a cocaine addiction.
“He solidified my life,” she told the committee as she wept. “He brought everything that I thought I could not get in recovery. He brought that to me. He redeemed me.”
Cash, age 3, died in Louisville in April.
His death certificate lists the cause of death as “acute fentanyl intoxication with acetylfentanyl, flurofentanyl and 4-ANPP present in the blood, and benzoylecgonine and morphine present in urine.”
Green said Cash was at his father’s house at the time and there were other people in the home. Cash’s father said he did not know there were any substances containing fentanyl there.
The Louisville Metro Police Department told Spectrum News 1 it does not suspect any foul play.
“I know his story’s bigger than me, than saving me,” said Green. “It’s to save these kids. And that’s what I’m proposing to you guys, that you know, at least if nobody’s going to admit to it, everybody needs to be held accountable, whether that’s through a drug screen that eliminates who was using the drug in the house. Something has to be done.”
Linton took what he believed to be Xanax and Rucker took what he thought was half a Percocet, the mothers said.
“My son split a half a pill, and he was deceived and poisoned to death and I have made it my commitment to go across the state, go across the nation to learn about this and to be educated about it,” said Parkerson.
Linton had 15 months of sobriety when he was killed by fentanyl, Boblitt said.
Boblitt had previously revived him with the overdose-reversing drug Narcan twice, she said.
“In Nelson County, the police always respond with the first responders and if Chase was alert when they got there, they would not take him,” said Boblitt. “The ambulance would not make him go anywhere. The police would not take him anywhere. I would beg them, you know, what can I do?“
Boblitt said she wished that when someone was revived with naloxone and 911 was called, that they would be forced to be taken somewhere safe.
“I know jail is not the answer, but somewhere so that you know they are safe,” said Boblitt.
Lawmakers said they are already working on bills for the next session.
“Know that you have supporters here that are not just telling you we’re sympathetic, we’re trying to do something about it,” said Rep. John Blanton, R-Salyersville. “And one of those things is myself and (Rep. Deanna Frazier Gordon, R-Richmond) will give each one of these people sitting on this committee here in this upcoming session a chance to say yes, we vote yes, that if you distribute drugs and somebody dies from that drug, you can be charged with murder. It doesn’t mean you don’t get your day in court.”
“It’s a really big deal and you don’t know it’s there until you get thrown into it, like me,” said Green.
She told lawmakers that she got engaged just a few weeks before Cash’s death. She thought he would be the ring bearer in her wedding.
“Now I have to use the picture to walk with him down the aisle,” she said.