A Father’s Pledge Senator Farrin’s Commitment to Drug Prevention After Tragic Loss

A Father’s Pledge: Senator Farrin’s Commitment to Drug Prevention After Tragic Loss

Sen. Brad Farrin claims he still wakes up some mornings, convinced it was all a bad dream. But it’s still all too real. In July 2022, his 26-year-old daughter, Haley Farrin, died of a fentanyl overdose, a lethal opioid narcotic that has killed thousands of Mainers in recent years.

“Haley traveled with me, and we discovered a love for the Keys,” Brad said in an interview. “We visited Washington, D.C., while I was teaching at the Pentagon for several years. And, before Lynn and I met, Haley was like my best friend, and we did a lot together.” Brad and Haley’s mother, Tammy, divorced when their daughter was two, he explained, but they have maintained close touch while co-parenting. “Haley was super loving and smart,” Tammy recalled. “She was the one we called when we had questions about most anything.”

However, Haley’s death left her parents and their two respective spouses with a slew of unanswered concerns. They all explained that Haley was dissatisfied after her breakup and started a new relationship.

“A manipulator,” Tammy described the man.

“And he introduced her to something that I know she knew was wrong,” she stated. That something was narcotics, specifically fentanyl. The parents claim they were unaware daughter had become a drug user, but they had noted changes in Haley that raised concerns. Brad and Tammy stated that they attempted an intervention to persuade her to quit her relationship with the boyfriend, but it was unsuccessful.

Then, on July 27, 2022, Tammy stated that she and her husband Sam drove to Haley’s house and found her car in the driveway, indicating that Haley had not gone to work. They discovered two strangers, a man and a woman, on the couch. The man claimed Haley had passed out in her room.

Tammy stated that she ran in and discovered Haley on the floor, some of her skin had turned blue. Without Narcan, they dialed 911 and began CPR. “Tammy was doing CPR on Haley,” Sam explained. “I was compressing her chest; Tammy [was] doing mouth to mouth.”

Unfortunately, it was too late.

Brad and Lynn came shortly after being summoned. “What Tammy did, performing CPR on her child, I can’t imagine,” he added.

Following the loss of their daughter, they all stated that they had asked the same questions. “It’s always the what if,” Lynn explained. “What could we have done differently?” Would a different decision have impacted the outcome?” Everyone says the grief hasn’t gone away and is always with them.

“It’s almost as if you woke up in a completely different world. “Nothing is the same,” Tammy stated. She stated that she and Sam had relocated to Florida full-time since being in Maine was simply too hard for her. Brad and Lynn have tried to deal with their loss by looking for ways to prevent others from using such drugs. They started by looking into drug education activities in local schools after discovering that fentanyl was being produced in the guise of confectionery.

“I contacted at least 10 superintendents,” Lynn recounted. “I’d like to thank John Moody in Skowhegan for taking the time to speak with me and be proactive. They had already petitioned the school board to allow Narcan at the school.” She stated the Maine Central Institute in Pittsfield also explained the drug education measures they were implementing.

“Unfortunately, the majority of superintendents never responded to me. I went to the school board for one district, but nothing happened. The responses I was receiving were that it was up to the [school] nurses to determine what the schools would receive in training.”

As a result, Brad introduced a bill in the Legislature, fashioned after a Texas legislation, “which would mandate 10 hours of class time instruction on dangerous drug awareness.”

“Then I observed the sausage-making process here in Augusta, and it got to the committee, and I heard from the teachers’ union and superintendents, [complaining] about an unfunded requirement, and we can’t tell local control what to do. And when it was all said and done, they passed the bill but removed all of its teeth,” he explained. He added that the original bill’s obligations had been amended to make drug education voluntary.

“The governor asked me if I wanted to do a bill signing ceremony on it, and I said no because it didn’t accomplish anything,” Brad stated that he has supported two other legislation, one calling for harsher penalties for fentanyl possession and another to centralize treatment approaches for best practices. Both legislation faced opposition and failed to pass. Tammy and Sam, who live in Florida, kept watch of what was going on with those they believed were responsible for Haley’s use of the lethal drug.

Andrew Blais, the man who was claimed to be on the couch when Tammy and Sam arrived at the house, was indicted on six criminal counts last October. He is currently in jail awaiting his trial, which District Attorney Meaghan Maloney said is set to take place in June. Those accusations include unlawful drug trafficking that resulted in death, which Maloney stated may result in a 30-year sentence.

Lynn and Brad Farrin say they intend to continue their efforts to increase and improve drug education in schools in order to prevent future family tragedies. “A lot of parents have to stop thinking this won’t happen to my child,” she said. “It’s not discriminatory and it affects lawyers’ children, doctors’ children.”

“We are losing a whole generation to this,” Brad went on to say. “Nothing compares to losing a child, and you don’t realize that until it happens… There is no way to express it; it happens every day.

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