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Summit County mother protests drug dealer sentencing after daughter died of overdose

Pushing for passage of Senate Bill 1
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Posted at 5:45 PM, Apr 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-21 17:45:23-04

A Cuyahoga Falls mother is fighting for harsher punishments against drug dealers who are distributing fentanyl after her daughter passed away of an overdose last year.

Brenda Ryan organized a protest outside of the Summit County Courthouse on Friday morning ahead of the sentencing for Derrick Sales.

Sales pled guilty to involuntary manslaughter and was sentenced to eight years in the death of Ryan's daughter, Sheena Moore. Moore, 31, died in June 2016 from a fentanyl overdose. She received the deadly drug from Sales.

In the courtroom Sales apologized to Moore's family.

"I understand the impact and effect that I have, on Sheena's loss, on their family," Sales said.

Ryan held back tears as she read her victim's statement. 

"Writing the victim's impact statement was probably the hardest things I've had to do," Ryan said. "How do you explain how that affected your life? How my daughter's death affected my life and my family's life... you can't put that into words." 

Now, she is turning her pain into action.

"It's been a long ten months, but I'm going to put this behind me now and move on and continue to fight for other addicts." 

The heartbroken mother is working to help pass Senate Bill 1, to put the deadly drug on par with heroin. Under Senate Bill 1, those selling and in possession of fentanyl will face tougher charges and longer sentences. 

Fentanyl is often laced with heroin without the user's knowledge and is 30 to 50 times more potent than heroin alone, according to Ohio Senate. 

"We want to get these dealers off the streets, so other parents don't have to go through what I've been through," Ryan said. "If we don't do something now, we're going to be another Chicago. When you have drugs, you have more dealers, when you have dealers you have money and power and they become very dangerous." 

Read more about Senate Bill 1 here.

The bill passed in the Ohio Senate last year and will be referred to the Ohio House for more consideration.