'Fentanyl, America's New 'F' Word': The Wisconsin campaign that aims to educate the U.S. about fentanyl deaths

NOW: ’Fentanyl, America’s New ’F’ Word’: The Wisconsin campaign that aims to educate the U.S. about fentanyl deaths


WISCONSIN (CBS 58) -- Local families are speaking out about a new campaign that focuses on spreading awareness on the dangers of Fentanyl -- a highly potent synthetic opioid that's become the number one cause of death in the U.S. for ages 18-45, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Fentanyl--America’s New ‘F’ Word

"Fentanyl -- America's New 'F' Word" is a powerful slogan that's printed all over multiple transit posters and billboards across Wisconsin, Indiana and even New York, with photos of those who have lost their lives due to Fentanyl poisoning.


Credit: Lori Badura

"It was the beginning of my nightmare as a parent," Lori Badura told CBS 58 in an interview.

Badura is an Oconomowoc mother of two. Her eldest son, Archie, died at the age of 19 from Fentanyl in May of 2014. She said it's a serious issue that's only been getting worse.

"We're losing 300 people a day in America," Badura said. "That is 9/11, you know, every two weeks and it's sad, it's just, that's an entire generation that's gone."

In fact, on Aug. 1, 2022, Waukesha County Executive Paul Farrow declared a Fentanyl emergency in the county.

Badura, having founded her nonprofit organization 'Saving Others for Archie' or SOFA Inc. in 2015, also trademarked "Fentanyl, America's New 'F' Word" campaign. She also partnered up with the county, alongside another local foundation called 'Love, Logan,' in hopes of spreading awareness.

"He passed away on Valentine's Day of 2021," said Rick Rachwal, as he explained the journey he and his wife have gone through for the past few years.

"Logan was always known as, like, the 'kind kid,' you know, he was like 'the soft kid,' so I always say, like, that really good part of him would be very, very happy to save any other life," added Erin Rachwal.

Their son Logan was also 19 years old, and a freshman at UW-Milwaukee, when he died in 2019 after taking a Fentanyl-laced fake Oxycodone pill. He was found about 12 hours after he had already passed away. The Love Logan Foundation, created in 2022, aims to save lives before it's too late.


Credit: Lori Badura

"One of the things our foundation really speaks to is that stigma and also just to, the fact that, like, pills are so normalized, and we really need to kind of re-look at that and educate kids that like, you don't know what you're taking," explained Erin Rachwal.

The Rachwal family told CBS 58 that nine months after their son's death, they found out another student, in Logan's same dorm building, also died due to Fentanyl poisoning. That sparked a connection with the other victim's mother and a drive to do something.

"Since we joined with that other mom and started really working, we have been able to get Narcan installed in all but one University of Wisconsin school system in the state, which is amazing, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has 22 stations around their campus," Erin Rachwal said.

Narcan is a medication used to reverse or reduce the effects of opioids, commonly used to counter decreased breathing in opioid overdose or poisoning. Logan's father said if someone had reported his son's death in a timely fashion, his life might've been saved with a Narcan.

Both families say the only way to fight this crisis is through education.

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