UWM Friends and family gather on campus to honor loved ones lost to fentanyl poisoning

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- The fentanyl poisoning epidemic has touched the UW-Milwaukee campus. Tonight, on April 27, family and friends of two students killed by fentanyl in the last year came together to honor their memories by spreading awareness.

These deaths happened nine months apart. In both cases, young men took a pill and then fell asleep in their dorm room, never to wake up. A loss being felt by too many families these days.

This is Logan Rachwal, forever 19.

"It's just the things you think of that you had hoped his life would be," said Rick Rachwal, Logan's dad.

Logan died on Valentine's Day 2021 on the UW-Milwaukee campus.

"He was the kid who would come home from school and tell us he was helping the special needs kid at school. So he was very gentle, very kind," said Erin Rachwal, Logan's mom.

18-year-old Cade Reddington was also a kind, young man.

"Cade was just such a light. I had these stickers made that say be the light because that's what Cade was to everybody. He just lit up the room. He would shift the energy," said Michelle Kullman, Cade's mom.

Like Rachwal, Reddington took a pill he thought would make him high, not kill him.

"He told somebody that he took a Percocet and he felt yucky," said Kullman.

In front of Merrill Hall months later, students joined Rachwal and Reddington's parents, sharing memories and sharing hugs, and committing themselves to telling others to watch out, because drug dealers themselves may not even know what they're selling could kill someone.

"It's horrific. We're losing a generation, like we need to put a stop to this," said Kullman.

"We know he took a pill and about a few minutes later is when he started to fall asleep which actually was him dying," said Erin Rachwal.

Reddington grew up in Madison. Rachwal, in Waukesha County. His parents think his addiction started after knee surgery at age 14.

"And we remember looking at him and looking at each other and we realized he was high from the medications," said Erin Rachwal.

Rachwal's parents sought treatment through good counselors and church, but the addiction was strong, and their fight to rescue him was lost that night.

"It's still a struggle. We have daily struggles. The triggers come from anything. I could be in a store and you hear a song. That happened to me and I had to leave immediately," said Rick Rachwal.

It's difficult for police to trace where the drugs came from. In Logan's case, UW-Milwaukee did. However, that man is facing charges. Not homicide charges, because nobody saw Logan actually ingest the pill. These parents said it best, if you're taking an illegal dug, or got a pill from any place other than a pharmacy, it's like playing Russian roulette with your life.

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