'One and only deadly mistake': Family says fentanyl claimed Scottsdale teen's life

Fentanyl-related deaths are continuing to climb across Maricopa County, and a family says one of the drug's latest victims was a 17-year-old Scottsdale boy.

The family says people who knowingly sell fentanyl-laced pills to minors and hide behind social media need to be held responsible.

The Arizona Department of Health Services says fentanyl has overtaken methamphetamine as the deadliest drug in Arizona.

It's leaving behind mourning families, like the Ayala family, who say their 17-year-old son was not a drug user but decided to trust the wrong person.

He took a pill, not knowing what was in it. That pill ended his life.

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Photo courtesy of the Ayala family

"If we sit there and think that it's not going to happen to us, we did everything possible," Gustavo Ayala said.

He's a father of five and says his 17-year-old son Noah, an AP student and football player who loved coaching young kids, died after taking one pill.

"Unfortunately, it was the one and only deadly mistake," Ayala said. "We’ve got to stop being naive, drugs are being poured into our country. In ten years, there's going to be something worse."

Ayala says music and social media carry heavy influences, especially on teens. His son's primary form of communication was the social media app Snapchat.

"That's kind of a cause for concern because drug dealers are using Snapchat, putting a location, saying, ‘Here I am and this is what I got.’ People will come and pick it up and then it erases," Noah's father said.

He says his son had no idea what was really in that pill.

Groups like Terros Health offer free fentanyl test kits to prevent more deaths like Noah's.

"What is inside the drug, test it to see what is in it. Tells you if it is positive for fentanyl," said Dave Schad, an emergency management specialist with Terros Health.

Vending machines are stocked with both the test kits and Narcan. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the nasal spray can reverse an overdose of opioids.

"The more Narcan we can get in the hands of people, the more lives we can save," Schad said.

The Ayala family wants Narcan to be in all schools, homes and restaurants, to counteract the carelessness of drug dealers.

"And all they're looking for is to make, what 20 bucks? My son's life is not worth $20," the grieving father said.

The Maricopa County Chief Medical Examiner, Dr. Jeff Johnston, says 60% of all drug-related deaths in the Phoenix area involve fentanyl.

Free test kits and Narcan are offered in vending machines at Terros Health locations.