Song for Charlie > About > Charlie’s Story

He Lived

Charlie Ternan was a regular guy, just like a lot of the guys you know. He was a good friend, and he had a bunch of them. He was in love. He liked to party with his fraternity brothers. He was a movie buff and had great taste in music. He was smart and a really good student (mostly, when he applied himself). He brought people together. Everyone loved his laugh – loud and contagious.

Like you and your friends, Charlie also had his challenges. He was unsure of his future after college. He was trying to find his place in the world. He wasn’t really sure what he wanted to do for a career. He experienced the normal angst of a young adult in this fast-paced world.

Charlie was familiar with Xanax and sometimes took one when he had time to chill and play video games. He also knew about Percocet, which he had been prescribed after his 2018 back surgery. Self-medicating with prescription pills is socially acceptable these days. After all, they are safe medicines, right?

He Died

Charlie was found by his friends, unresponsive in his room, around 8:45pm on a Thursday. They tried their best to revive him, but it was too late. He was 22 years old and three weeks away from his college graduation. Initial reports from first responders suggested that Charlie had died hours before, sometime in the late afternoon. They said the likely cause of death was an accidental overdose of prescription pills.

None of this made sense to Charlie’s family and friends. Charlie didn’t have a substance abuse issue. Besides, how many pills would our 6’2”, 235-pound Charlie have to take to fatally overdose?

As it turns out, it only takes one – if that pill is made of fentanyl. We learned that Charlie had purchased a Percocet online because his back was hurting. But it wasn’t real. It was a “fentapill.” We think Charlie took the pill around 3pm and died within 30 minutes. He never had a chance.

You Need
         To know

We often assume that someone who dies from drugs is different from us. They must have had big problems or an addiction or mental health issues. But that’s not true in Charlie’s case, nor in thousands of recent cases. In fact, the fastest growing category of “drug overdose” victims is the occasional, recreational user of prescription pills. And that is because the pill supply has been poisoned – flooded with counterfeit fentapills. Ultimately, Charlie’s death was the result of a fraud; a scam. If he had taken an actual Percocet, as he intended, he would be alive today. We wish Charlie had known about fentapills. Maybe he would have been more careful.