Oregon City woman who lost son to fentanyl overdose nearly 2 years ago shares warning to parents

The Portland Police Bureau says two teenagers died of apparent drug overdoses from pills laced with fentanyl within just 24 hours.
Published: Mar. 8, 2022 at 12:18 PM PST
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OREGON CITY, Ore. (KPTV) - The Portland Police Bureau says two teenagers died of apparent drug overdoses from pills laced with fentanyl within just 24 hours. For one mother in Oregon City, this news comes less than two years after she lost her son to a fentanyl overdose.

It was July 2020 when Michele Stroh said she found her son dead in their home. She said he died after taking one pill that he believed was OxyContin, but was actually fentanyl and was enough to kill 14 people.

When Stroh heard the news of the two Portland teens who overdosed, she said it was like reliving that day all over again.

“I remember walking up the stairs, and I just had that dread of, he’s not answering when I call his name,” she said. “I went to touch him and he was so cold, and he was clenching his heart.”

Her son and former Marine, 25-year-old Keaton Stroh, dead from a fentanyl overdose. She said the day prior, he picked up three pills from a friend that he thought were OxyContin’s. She said her son took only one pill, but one was enough.

Keaton Stroh (Courtesy: Michele Stroh)
Keaton Stroh (Courtesy: Michele Stroh)(Michele Stroh/KPTV)

Fentanyl is an opioid that, according to the CDC, is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine.

“It’s everywhere, and they’re getting so good at being so real looking,” said Stroh.

Portland police said two teens died of an accidental overdose this past Sunday and Monday after taking pills called “M30s” that were laced with fentanyl.

Upon hearing the news, Stroh said she immediately thought of those teens’ parents.

“That broke my heart last night, because that’s two more families that have to bury their child like I did,” she said.

Stroh said he son struggled with addiction, but she warns parents that this can happen to any child.

“Anybody. This is not just a drug addict issue. This is kids being kids, who have tried things since the turning of time,” she said.

After 20 months of paralyzing grief, Stroh said she’s ready to turn her pain into action. She has teamed up with the organizations, “Need for Narcan” and “Communities Living Above,” to educate parents and kids on the dangers of fentanyl.

Stroh’s also on the board of the Oregon City School District and has been working to get Narcan - a drug used to rapidly reverse opioid overdose - on all of its campuses and buses.

“I can’t save my child anymore, he’s gone. The child I’m trying to save is yours, because no one is safe from this,” Stroh said.

She said the Oregon City School Board will vote on Monday to have Narcan on all of its campuses. She is anticipating a unanimous vote in favor of that.