Song for Charlie is a national family-run nonprofit charity dedicated to raising awareness about ‘fentapills’ — fake pills made of fentanyl.
We partner with experts, educators, parents and other influencers to reach the most vulnerable group: young people between the ages 13-24.
Our programs highlight the emerging dangers of self-medication and casual drug use in the fentanyl era and encourage healthier strategies for coping with stress.
Growing up in our fast-paced world is stressful. Song for Charlie is a national family-run, nonprofit charity that encourages young people to choose healthy coping strategies over self-medication. We empower students to learn and share knowledge by providing research tools and promoting peer-to-peer learning programs.
We envision a future in which the casual use of prescription pills is considered socially unacceptable, and in which sharing random pills is uncool.
We endeavor to change the ‘quick fix’ mindset of self-medication in favor of more organic and sustainable strategies for managing stress and anxiety.
To accomplish these goals, we must break through the noise and communicate with young people on their terms – go where they are; speak their language; and get them talking.
Charlie’s parents are dedicated to informing young adults, parents and educators about counterfeit pills like the one that killed their son in May 2020. Upon Charlie’s death, Ed and Mary were shocked to find that the scope of the fake fentapill problem was well known among medical and law enforcement authorities, but not by the most vulnerable group – young people between the ages of 13-24.
The Ternans believe the best way to address the problem is to reduce the demand for prescription meds by warning people of the prevalence of fake pills and offering healthier alternatives for managing stress. They are also determined to cut through the misinformation that exists about the fentanyl epidemic and provide fact-based resources directly to young people in plain language.
WHAT IS SONG FOR CHARLIE ALL ABOUT?
After the sudden loss of their son Charlie, Ed and Mary Ternan created Song for Charlie with one goal: to bring awareness to counterfeit prescription pills being sold online targeting young people. With your help, we can spread the word and save lives.
HOW 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?
HOW 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.
WHAT 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.