'Dilbert' creator Scott Adams speaks out after stepson's overdose death on fentanyl

ByKatie Utehs KGO logo
Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Creator of 'Dilbert' comic speaks out after stepson's overdose death, Livermore police issues warning to parents
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A warning was issued Tuesday for parents after two teens died in the last two days from suspected opioid overdoses.

LIVERMORE, Calif. -- A warning was issued Tuesday for parents after two teens died in the last two days from suspected opioid overdoses.

The Livermore Police Department is still investigating the deaths but wants people to know in case there are tainted drugs on the streets.

Scott Adams, the creator of the comic strip Dilbert, took to social media on Monday with a heartwrenching account of his stepson's overdose. While Livermore police are not naming the teens who died, Adams believes his stepson is one of the two people they're talking about in their warning.

"My stepson, the little boy that I'd raised since the age of two, was dead," said an emotional Adams' in a Periscope video he posted to his Twitter account. Posted on Oct. 1, the video has been viewed more than 100,000 times.

Adams' ex-wife called him Sunday with the terrible news -- 18-year-old Justin Miles was found dead in his room.

"The coroner found a fentanyl patch on his arm. If you don't know what a fentanyl patch is, I didn't know either," said Adams. He goes on to describe in detail watching the coroner remove his son's body from the home.

Adams talks about Justin's problems with addiction, the broader opioid epidemic, and fentanyl-laced drugs being imported from China.

Adams says in addition to the fentanyl patch that the teen may have also been trying to "score" Xanax. His overdose death on Sunday and the death of a second teenager on Monday prompted Livermore police to post a warning to Facebook.

"It's going to take a couple weeks to get tests back to be able to confirm what caused their death, but in the meantime, we don't want to wait and take an opportunity to educate our community," said Lt. John Hurd, Livermore Police Department.

Police are looking into any possible connections between the deaths. A synthetic and highly addictive painkiller may also be involved.

"In Alameda County, we've found drugs tainted or mixed with fentanyl. Fentanyl can be a deadly combination," said Lt. Hurd.

Livermore has had four overdose deaths so far this year, which is highly unusual, says Lt. Hurd.

Mike Sena's organization, Northern California Regional Intelligence Center, tracks overdoses nationwide. The numbers for 2016 alone are startling.

"We had as many people die in one year as we had die in the entire Vietnam War," said Sena, to give some perspective on the opioid epidemic.

He's created a reporting app, called OD Map, for first responders to use when they encounter overdoses. It maps the drug incidents so trends can be detected.

"If there is a bad batch of drugs that's killing people, what's going on in real time rather than waiting for the deaths to pile up," said Sena. "When these threats happen or an overdose occurs, we define that in real time to find out what the culprit is, identify where that threat is coming from."

Sena says the tracking tool is used widely on the East Coast and, as the opioid epidemic has swept west, they're working to get more agencies to use it here.

A month ago, Livermore police started carrying the opioid antidote Narcan and it's already saved several lives.

For more resources for preventing prescription drug abuse, visit this page.