By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The mother of a man who died from a new lethal strain of synthetic heroin is speaking out.

Erick Taft, 31, is one of five people from Minnesota who have died after taking carfentanil.

The illegal drug is 100 times more potent than fentanyl, the drug connected to the death of Prince.

Anne Taft-Wild thinks if more users and family and friends of users knew about this deadly synthetic heroin, they would do more to get their loved ones to kick the habit.

Erick Taft (credit: CBS)

She hopes her son’s story helps other parents realize how important it is to intervene before it too late.

“He was just his own person and he tried to do the best that he could with everything that he was dealt,” Taft-Wild said.

She says her son always wore a smile on his face.

“I feel like I talked to Erick til I was blue in the face,” Taft-Wild said.

She says her son battled an addiction to alcohol for years. She says his smile was capable of hiding the demons he fought alone from his family and friends.

“They knew he was drinking a lot, but the heroin, no,” Taft-Wild said.

She says Erick came clean a couple of months before he died, telling her he was using heroin. He checked himself into a facility.

“He came out of there clean, they had him a prescription for soboxine which is a heroin substitute like methadone, and that’s what he had sitting on his desk when the police were there taking pictures of him dead on the floor,” Taft-Wild said.

Carfentanil (credit: CBS)

Erick’s battle with heroin ended on the floor of his home in north Minneapolis on Jan. 30. Taft-Wild says the medical examiner told her he died quickly because of the amount of carfentanil that was in his system.

“I asked if he had any heroin in his system because it usually is mixed,” she said. “He thought he was buying heroin I’m sure. No heroin, it was straight carfentanil.”

Taft-Wild says parents should not be afraid to take their children to treatment, and friends should speak up if they suspect someone is using.

She thinks if Erick’s friends had known he had a problem, they would have helped him get the support he needed to stop.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar is co-author of a bi-partisan bill that’s aimed at cracking down on the shipment of synthetic heroin from overseas.

The STOP Act would give United States Postal Service tools to track and stop packages containing carfentanil from entering the country.

[graphiq id=”e1MpuZo86e9″ title=”Carfentanil” width=”600″ height=”704″ url=”″ link_text=”Graphiq” ]

Reg Chapman