WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) — A Wichita mother is grieving after losing her son to an overdose just days ago.
Tamatha Arnott’s son Corey Wontorski battled drug addiction for years, but she says he was a good kid who made a dumb mistake that took his life. Now ,she wants to see laws changed to prevent this from happening to others.
“We do things to keep the people we love safe. Corey was an addict, but Corey was also a person that everyone in the community loved,” Arnott said.
Corey died Sunday, Sept. 11, at 24 years old.
“It wasn’t completely unexpected because of the road he’s been down, but we thought he was getting better. He ended up turning to what we believe was something that was laced with fentanyl,” Arnott explained.
Arnott believes decriminalizing fentanyl test strips could help save others from his mistake.
“I don’t know if it would have helped Corey, but I know it has helped, and it will help other kids if they’re able to access them freely and not worry about having been charged as paraphernalia so they can actually test,” Arnott said.
State Rep. Jason Probst tried to decriminalize fentanyl test strips last session.
“I think that is really hitting home in communities, and I think that other lawmakers are going to realize that we should have got that done last year. We could have saved lives last year, and people died this year, and they’ll continue to die because we didn’t get that done,” Probst said.
Probst plans to bring this up to the legislature once again. Along with some other fentanyl topics.
“I think that people who are peddling fentanyl in our communities should face tougher criminal penalties for that, and I’m certainly interested in exploring that and seeing what we might be able to do on that front,” Probst said.
“We don’t want any other family to go through,” Arnott said. “I think decriminalizing something to keep them alive and safe so they can get treatment is a good first step.”