teens

'My nephew's story could very well save your child’s life.'

Gunner Bundrick was an accomplished athlete, a former star of his high school baseball and football teams in the US state of Arizona. A loving son, a protective brother, and “a pillar of the community”, according to his family.

But on November 3, the 19-year-old and his friend Jake Morales died.

According to a Facebook post by his aunt, Brandi Bundrick Nishnick, at some point during an evening of pizza and video games at home, Gunner and Jake took a pill that had been laced with fentanyl – a powerful, highly concentrated opioid.

Gunner’s mother reportedly found the pair unresponsive at around 11am the following morning. But it was too late; neither she nor paramedics were able to revive them.

Gunner reportedly had no history of drug use, had never been “a problem child”. His death, and its reported cause, shocked everyone who knew him.

“I’m sharing Gunner’s story because Gunner had a whole life ahead of him. He had goals and aspirations. He wanted to be a dad. He wanted to continue to play football and baseball in college. He wanted to go hunting and fishing with this grandpa. Gunner wasn’t done,” Brandi wrote.

“One bad choice, one stupid minor mistake was all it took. Gunner never had a chance.”

Brandi and Gunner. Image: Facebook.
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In Australia, Fentanyl is typically prescribed in patch-form for the management of chronic cancer pain, but the drug has also made its way onto the streets in recent years.

The director of Australia's National Drug and Alcohol Research Centre, Professor Michael Farrell, recently noted that the drug is 50 to 100 times more concentrated than morphine.

“Like all opioids including heroin, fentanyl is a respiratory depressant – it interferes with the user’s ability to breathe," Prof. Farrell said. "Because it is so concentrated people can misjudge the dose for themselves to a dangerous degree.”

"It's truly a matter of life or death."

Brandi acknowledged that it's normal for people her nephew's age to consider experimenting, she argued that the drugs available to this generation are more potent and lethal than most that have gone before.

In Gunner's case, she claimed the pill was even falsely stamped as Percoset, a strong, but easily accessible prescription painkiller.

"These aren’t the pills in your parents medicine cabinet. They are made in someone’s garage who is trying to make a buck...a buck at the expense of our children’s lives. THERE CAN BE NO EXPERIMENTING. None," she said.'

"It’s truly a matter of life or death. You can’t see fentanyl. You can’t smell fentanyl."

Brandi Urged parents to show their children her nephew's photograph, to tell them his story. It may just flash into their minds in years to come and spare more people from the agony her family are going through.

"I can’t describe the amount of pain my brother, sister-in-law and Gunner’s sisters are going through," Brandi wrote, "A pain that will NEVER end. A hole that will NEVER be filled. A life that will never be brought back. A beautiful life.

"Gone forever."

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