‘I want justice for my son’: A local mom’s fight against fentanyl

Published: Apr. 18, 2022 at 6:57 PM EDT
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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) - New numbers from the CDC show fentanyl overdose is now the leading cause of death for U.S. adults ages 18 to 45.

In Georgia, from May 2020 to April 2021, the Department of Public Health reports a 106 percent increase in fentanyl-related deaths.

The most recent numbers from South Carolina are from 2019 to 2020. DHEC reporting a 105-percent increase.

After the death of her son, one Aiken County mom knows the pain fentanyl can cause.

Here’s her story and how she’s keeping her son’s legacy alive.

Crystal Kraft is seeing her son, Clifton Bates, the only way she can now. Through photos, she carries in an envelope.

It never gets easier to share her son’s story. “Clifton was... Wow. This is hard,” she said

He was 24 when he passed away. He was an outdoorsman, a family man, and knew to take care of his mother.

“He loved to give hugs. Even at 24, he made sure that I got a hug and kiss every night before he went to bed. I think that’s one of the things I miss the most,” said Kraft.

Clifton died on July 14, 2020.

“He ended up getting something, and it was laced with fentanyl,” she said.

Doctors prescribed him opioids after getting his wisdom teeth removed. He became addicted, tried to get help, but overdosed on meth laced with fentanyl.

“I will never forget seeing him, laying on that floor,” said Kraft.

Clifton had enough fentanyl in his system to kill 17 men.

“I want justice for my son,” she said.

Lawmakers in South Carolina are working to cut down on fentanyl in the state with several bills. The state senate introduced two bills. One is a drug trafficking bill for fentanyl, and the other is a drug-induced homicide bill. The drug trafficking bill is currently stalled in the Senate. The drug-induced homicide bill has already passed in the Senate.

Both work to increase jail time and fines for dealers.

“We need this. We have to do something because it’s not going to stop,” she said.

Kraft wants to make sure no other family has to go through this.

“If you don’t know somebody who is already dealing with this. You will very soon,” said Kraft.

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