PEWAUKEE, Wis. — Every time the Rachwal family hears of a fentanyl-related death, memories of the worst day of their lives come flooding back.
On Valentine’s Day in 2021, their 19-year-old son Logan was found dead in his dorm at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. The cause of death was fentanyl poisoning.
“He was just funny, charming, sweet and very sensitive,” said Erin Rachwal.
Erin Rachwal said her son struggled with anxiety and depression. At 14 years old, after a routine surgery, Logan was prescribed pain pills.
“We noticed about three days post surgery that he was in the chair in our living room, and he looked high,” said Erin Rachwal.
Concerned, Erin Rachwal and her husband Rick Rachwal immediately switched Logan to ibuprofen.
They didn’t find out until after his death five years later that he had continued taking pain pills. It eventually led to a call no parent should get.
“Logan was found in his dorm room Valentine’s evening and that’s when we got the phone call,” said Erin Rachwal.
She said Logan got in a fight with his girlfriend and took a pain pill. He had no idea it was laced with fentanyl. His girlfriend was on a video call with him that night, said he went to bed and she heard him snoring.
The 19-year-old never woke up.
“So many deaths that are happening there’s either a witness or someone around and they didn’t know what to do or they didn’t even know,” said Erin Rachwal. “She hung up the phone thinking he was sleeping, but his respiratory system was shutting down.”
One year later, the Rachwal’s created the “Love, Logan Foundation” to share her son’s story, and the dangers of fentanyl and other illicit drugs.
Erin Rachwal works to boost support and raise awareness for mental health and addiction treatments.
“There’s so many families out there struggling,” said Erin Rachwal. “That’s a hard thing to say. A lot of parents don’t want to say that. There’s a shameful feeling of, what did we do wrong?”
The Rachwal’s want everyone to have easy access to Narcan and know how to use it. They also said there’s something people can do at home right now.
“Keeping unlocked medication in your home is like a loaded gun on a kitchen counter,” said Erin Rachwal. “You have to keep that locked up because kids are curious.”
Erin Rachwal knows that fighting the pervasive opioid crisis is an uphill battle.
But she refuses to stop, working tirelessly in honor of Logan and his younger brother Caden, whose life was also forever changed.
“He’s struggling,” said Erin Rachwal. “I explained to people. It’s the four-legged table and one leg is gone. And Caden is the third leg.”
The Rachwal’s were part of a CNN Townhall on the opioid epidemic and have testified before Congress in our nation’s Capitol.
They said they will never stop because no other family should experience this.
You can find more information and resources on the Love, Logan Foundation here.