‘Die addicted to this’: How a Fresno man, former fentanyl addict, now helps others

‘Die addicted to this’: How a Fresno man, former fentanyl addict, now helps others

FRESNO, Calif. (KGPE) – “I was a lifer. I was going to die doing drugs. I was okay with it. I accepted it. I’d moved on. And I never thought getting sober was even a possibility because, you know, I didn’t know anybody who was sober.”

Those are the words of Danny Taylor, a man who used to be addicted to fentanyl.

We are getting a rare insight into the cycle of addiction from a former fentanyl addict.

The State of Fentanyl: YourCentralValley.com’s complete coverage

“I was born and raised in Fresno. Came from a very decent house to loving parents with good jobs. Very middle class. Dad worked for the state. Mom worked for the county. Active in my life from everything from sports to anything I needed.”

Taylor graduated from Bullard High School and went on to Fresno State, where he was well-liked and got good grades. But he found himself mixed up with the wrong friends and was a victim of peer pressure.

In middle school, he tried fitting in by drinking alcohol -and it got worse from there. He says he would use several kinds of drugs during his school years.

“It was alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, and a lot of prescription pills, benzo, benzodiazepines like Xanax or Klonopin, and some muscle relaxers.”

It got to the point where Taylor knew he had a drug problem.

Dorman: “Walk me through that cycle of addiction.”

Taylor: “It’s ups and downs. You have extreme highs and really low lows.”

In his late 20s, Taylor started chasing his next high by seeking out fentanyl on purpose. He was not able to count the many times Narcan brought him back to life.

He would remain addicted to fentanyl for nearly five years.

Dorman: “How often were you using?”

Taylor: “I would say multiple times a day. Every single day. All day, every day.”

Dorman: “Pills, powder?”

Taylor: “Pills and powder and anything I could get my hands on it didn’t matter.”

Danny says he is not connected to that lifestyle anymore, but if he was, he could get fentanyl in a local park in the city. The most concerning part is that he knew he was risking his life every time he got high.

“I fully knew the consequences…if I didn’t die, that was okay. I’m just going to wake up and do it again. But if I died, that was just a part of the game.”

When asked, “As somebody who is now sober, how does it feel to hear yourself say that?”

“Oh, it’s crazy. It’s absolutely crazy…I get caught up in the past sometimes, but I can’t change it. You know, I can only move forward and live as the person who I am today. It just kept me trapped for so long that I thought I was going to die addicted to this,” he said.

His second chance came when a family member reached out to him saying “You have a problem and need rehab”. He says no one ever offered him treatment, and treatment turned his life around.

Taylor is now 33 years old and 17 months sober. He and a friend started Fentanyl Anonymous, and they average about 60 people a week at Fresno’s First Street church.

In just six months, they have already expanded to Palm Springs and East to Kansas and North Dakota with hopes of becoming nationwide.

When asked “What are the needs that you’re hearing from those who are coming to you?”

“There are people in there that come in and say I was doing cocaine, and I didn’t even know I was doing fentanyl. You also have rehab treatment centers coming in with younger and younger kids. You know, it’s sad just how quickly they can get addicted,” he said.

Taylor says it is important for everyone to educate themselves on the dangers of fentanyl. From kids, parents and grandparents.

It is more accessible than one would think. Kids are using Snapchat, paying with Venmo or CashApp, and oftentimes having opiates delivered to their homes or a nearby park or business.

That one painkiller may seem innocent enough to them but it could end up taking their life.

For those addicted to drugs and hoping for a way out, visit the Fentanyl Anonymous webpage by clicking here.

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