Virginia mother hosts walk after son's death: 'I can't let it go'

'I cry every day. I'm angry every day... If it's not a bottle with your name on the label, don't take it.'
Posted at 10:20 PM, Jun 04, 2023
and last updated 2023-06-04 22:21:36-04

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — Parents and loved ones across Hampton Roads walked for change Saturday to raise awareness about the dangers of illegal fentanyl.

"I cry every day. I'm angry every day. I still feel like I can't let it go," said Elizabeth Ripley.

Ripley's son, Michael Warren, died from fentanyl poisoning two years ago, just six days before his 22nd birthday.

"He suffered from substance abuse disorder, and we did a lot of struggling, and it just wasn't good enough," said Ripley.

Warren took a pill that he thought was Xanax, but ended up being fentanyl.

It's a similar story many Hampton Roads families share as they gathered in Portsmouth for the fentanyl awareness walk this weekend.

"How much more of this can we take? It needs to stop. Our voices will be heard loud and clear," said Hunter Douglas-Morris.

Morris's mom died four years ago.

Now, he said he makes it his mission to reach out and comfort those who have lost loved ones to the deadly drug.

"I think about her every day," said Morris.

Ripley's non-profit MLW, which is also her son's initials, is hoping the walk will bring communities together to shine a light on fentanyl deaths.

News 3's Kelsey Jones walked with families and met one woman who traveled from Delaware with her grandson to be a part of the walk and shared her pain.

"I lost my 28-year-old daughter. She had two other kids. All three of them lost their beautiful mother at age 28 to fentanyl," said Karen, who lost her daughter to fentanyl.

"One pill can kill, and she was gone in an instant," Karen added.

Karen's 10-year-old grandson, James, shared a sweet message to remember his mom.

"I love her and she will always be in my heart," said James.

With many families sharing a connection to the pain of losing a loved one, the DEA is calling fentanyl the deadliest drug threat facing our country.

"If it's not a bottle with your name on the label, don't take it," said Ripley.


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