Show Notes

Ed Ternan is a husband, father and businessman.  In May 2020, he lost his son 22-year-old son Charlie, who was poisoned by a counterfeit prescription pill.  Since that time, Ed and his wife Mary have dedicated themselves to informing young people about the new risks of self-medication and recreational drug use in the age of synthetic drugs like Fentanyl.

The Ternan's have formed a nonprofit charity called Song for Charlie, where they create and distribute social media campaigns and educational materials.  Their programs provide fact-based resources directly to young people in plain language and encourage healthier alternatives for managing stress.

His story is one of sadness but also taking responsibility. 

"Charlie died on May 14, 2020 after taking a pill he purchased from a dealer he connected with on Snapchat.  He was told the pill was a Percocet, but it was actually a realistic looking counterfeit made of Fentanyl. After Charlie died, Mary and I did our research and discovered that other young people were dying from what we call "Fentapills".  We also learned that the authorities were aware of the problem, but that the information was not reaching the kids.  So, we decided to make it our mission to inform young people directly about this new danger.

After concluding that we had no legal recourse against Snap, we decided to see if we could make them our ally.  We connected with Snap executives through our personal network and convinced them that the counterfeit pills being sold on their platform required and aggressive response, on the same level as child sex trafficking.  They engaged with us quickly and together we formed a coalition of platforms and tech firms that produce and distribute awareness messaging directly to kids and parents. We also help them on the monitoring and enforcement side, serving as subject matter experts.

We have reached over 52 million unique viewers across eight platforms since our awareness campaign launched in July 2021".

The tech coalition provided the seed money for a national, 2-year awareness campaign undertaken by the Ad Council that will launch in August of 2022.  Ed serves on the Ad Council’s Expert Panel with personnel from the CDC and Shatterproof.

Song for Charlie spearheaded the first ever National Fentanyl Awareness Day on May 10, 2022.  We got a bipartisan Senate Resolution passed, gathered over 400 corporate and nonprofit partners and assembled an Advisory Council comprised of experts in Supply Reduction, Demand Reduction, Harm Reduction and Social Media. 

Mary and Ed were among 75 family members impacted by the Fentanyl crisis who attended a conference at DEA Headquarters in Washington DC.

Building on the momentum of National Fentanyl Awareness Day, Song for Charlie has convened a panel of 12 experts from relevant subject areas to brainstorm new approaches to the drug crisis.