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Dad educates parents about fentanyl after daughter's overdose

Ryan Christoff gives everyone who comes to his home a dose of naloxone to take with them.

LAFAYETTE, Colo. — One student went to the hospital after a suspected drug overdose at JFK High School in Denver last week. Four others were treated on campus. 

Another school nearby is reporting fentanyl may have been involved.

It's a drug Ryan Christoff, a father in Boulder County, knows too well. Last year, Lafayette police responded to his 911 call after his 16-year-old daughter overdosed in her bedroom.

"He's running upstairs to find me doing chest compressions on my daughter," Christoff said. 

She wasn't breathing until a police officer gave her a dose of naloxone. 

"It turned out what she had taken was half of what she thought was a Percocet pill," Christoff said. "She did half of this one and overdosed because it had a lethal dose of fentanyl in it."

Christoff said she got the pill from her boyfriend, who got it from a friend. That friend bought the pill off someone on Snapchat. Christoff said his daughter's pill was the only one that had a lethal dose.

"She was the unlucky one in that sense, in that she got the one with the lethal dose in it," he said. "But of course we are both very lucky that I happened to check on her when I did."

After almost losing his daughter, Christoff feels obligated to show parents the body camera footage of his scariest moment. 

"To not share, to not try and help other people, just feels like it would be a disservice," he said. "It would be wrong."

He wants to focus on prevention and educate parents about how to use naloxone. 

Christoff has boxes of the overdose reversal drug in his home. He gives a dose to every person who visits, including his daughter's friends. 

"Before this happened to me, I wasn't thinking about her dying from an overdose. I just wasn't thinking about it," Christoff said. 

He wishes he didn't know so much about naloxone or fentanyl. Now he hopes more people will carry the drug that saved his daughter's life. 

"I want other people to think about it, and not live their lives in fear, but be prepared," he said. 

Christoff is helping to host two overdose prevention seminars with Boulder County Public Health. Parents are encouraged to come. Attendees will learn about risky behavior related to drugs and learn how to administer naloxone.

The sessions are: 

  • Dec. 12 from 6-7 p.m. at 515 Coffman Avenue in Longmont
  • Dec. 19 from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. at 3450 Broadway in Boulder

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