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Sanpete County Man Raising Awareness About Drug Addiction In Unique Way

STERLING, Utah – Utah has come a long way in helping those with opioid addiction, but there is still plenty of work to be done. 

One man who lost his son to addiction seven years ago has been speaking about the dangers. But now, he’s found another way to reach teenagers.

Small towns often have a character all their own.

But in Sanpete County’s Sterling, you’d probably never expect to find a rap artist.

“I’m not into rap music,” said Ryan Palmer with a laugh.

(KSL-TV)

Palmer lives in Sterling, and if his plan is successful, his rap video will not only put his town on the map, it’ll also spread a message that’s bigger than even the biggest town.

“Because of my son and the friends he hung out with, I knew it kind of had to be a rap slap song,” said Palmer.

His son, Jeremy, died seven years ago because of a drug overdose. He was only 20 years old.

“It was hard. Jeremy had seven drugs in him,” said Palmer.

Even worse, the friends Jeremy was with on the night he overdosed decided to dump his body on the driveway of an acquaintance, instead of bringing him to a hospital.

“They passed by two hospitals that night,” said Palmer. “If they would’ve brought him to a hospital, they would’ve administered Narcan, which would’ve reversed the drug effects, and Jeremy would’ve lived through that.”

Ryan Palmer. (KSL-TV)

It’s why Palmer wants people to know you can drop off someone who is overdosing at a hospital without getting in trouble.

“No questions asked,” he said.

Palmer has spoken at schools about the “get out of jail free card,” as he calls it, as well as the dangers of drug addiction.

However, his rap video, which was shot last week at the Bonneville Salt Flats with motivational speaker Ryan Stream, is another way to reach teenagers.

Stream depicts Jeremy in heaven in the video.

“He escaped this addiction stuff,” said Palmer. “It makes me emotional because I can see what my boy would’ve been.”

The full video will debut this coming Monday night during an event at Canyon View Park in Ephraim. 

Ryan Palmer’s video will make its debut on Monday. (KSL-TV)

Palmer is planning a drug addiction awareness night with food and live music.

It’s a cause he’s now dedicated his life to because he knows how tough talking about drug addiction can be.

“This is a huge problem,” he said. “People just don’t know how to address this situation. And they don’t know how to even bring it up.” 

However, Palmer feels it need to be talked about as often as possible. Especially in small towns where you would normally think nothing bad ever happens. 

“This affects one in four families now,” he said. “This is an epidemic.”

KSL 5 TV Live