FentanylSolution.org Steals the Show: How the ‘Stomp Fentanyl’ Event Raised Awareness and Inspired Change

On March 16th, 2024, the “Stomp Fentanyl: A Fashion Show to Save Lives” event, organized by FentanylSolution.org, brought together a diverse group of celebrities, designers, and advocates at the Rogue Collective in Newport Beach, California. The event aimed to raise awareness about the devastating fentanyl epidemic and support life-saving initiatives through a powerful fusion of fashion and philanthropy.

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The red carpet buzzed with excitement as attendees arrived, eager to share their thoughts on this crucial cause. Kenneth W. Welch Jr., inventor, entrepreneur, and Chairman of the board of Global’s Corporate Machine, emphasized the need for love and unity in combating the fentanyl crisis. “We’re going to have to love thy neighbor, love thy children, and we’re going to have to unite, bring everybody together,” he said. “We’re going to have to create public awareness, and then we’re going to have to go after the mass distribution that far surpasses what is the requirement of fentanyl.”

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Kenneth W. Welch Jr. arrives at Stomp Fentanyl Fashion Show

Welch, along with his board members Steven Whitney McMillan, and George Engelmann, CEO of Diamond Infrastructure Development, made a significant financial pledge to support FentanylSolution.org’s mission.

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Bronwyn Leigh Jones at Stomp Fentanyl Fashion Show

Actress and celebrity realtor Bronwyn Leigh Jones shared her personal connection to the cause, stating, “I know a couple of people who have unfortunately passed or had their children passed from fentanyl. Sadly, that’s why I’m here tonight, and I’m here to support the fashion. But most of all, I’d really love to not see anyone else die from this horrendous epidemic.”

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Daniel de Castellane arrives at Stomp Fentanyl Fashion Show

Daniel de Castellane, philanthropist and CEO of de Castellane Creative, also spoke passionately about the importance of awareness and testing. “Every week we’re losing 250 people to fentanyl poisoning,” he said. “It’s important that people test their drugs, whatever they’re taking, to make sure that it’s not laced with it.”

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Shane Wood, Executive Director of FentanylSolution.org, emphasized the urgency of the situation. “We are at a critical moment in our nation’s history, having passed the tragic milestone of 100,000 deaths resulting from drug overdoses in a 12-month period,” he said. “As we continue to lose an American life to drug overdose every five minutes around the clock, we must commit ourselves to doing what we know will help us triumph over this crisis.”

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The fashion show itself was a stunning display of creativity and commitment, with designers like Jamal Hansen of OTAON, Marika Soderlund of My Club, Filipo Rippe, and HUMANITY! showcasing their collections while championing the cause.

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Matt Barnes, Founder of Rogue Collective and one of the event sponsors, expressed his gratitude for FentanylSolution.org’s work. “I’ve got five kids under six or six and under, and I didn’t know much about the whole fentanyl crisis until I met fentanyl solutions,” he shared. “I’m just so thankful for what they’re doing and getting the word out.

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Alex Mohajer arrives at Stomp Fentanyl Fashion Show

Alex Mohajer, an award-winning independent political writer, advocate, and organizer, stressed the importance of holistic, community-based solutions. “We have an epidemic of opioid epidemic here, not just in California and Orange county, across the country. And it’s really important that we start looking at holistic, community based solutions to solving this crisis,” he said. “And so I’m here to support the organization and help draw some attention to it, destigmatize it, and get our communities the access and the resources they need to get people healing and wellness.”

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Missy Sunseri arrives at Stomp Fentanyl Fashion Show

Missy Sunseri, a hypnotherapist and founder of Natural Mind, shared her personal loss and the impact of the fentanyl epidemic. “I’ve lost my brother from an overdose, and I’ve lost my best friend two years ago, actually, from an overdose. He was 27 and it was fentanyl overdose. And I see it all the time in the addiction community, the overdoses left and right, and people not even understanding what they’re doing,” she said.

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The evening also featured moving performances, including a heartfelt tribute by musician Joe Sparrow. Sparrow performed a cover of “Drug Dealers,” a song written by Christopher Paul Don, who tragically lost his life to fentanyl poisoning at the age of 31. “He thought it was cocaine, and there was fentanyl in it,” Sparrow explained. “And so it’s a really common tale. Too common, and it’s tragic.”

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Joe Sparrow (M), Lila Don and Christopher Don at Stomp Fentanyl Fashion Show

Christopher Don’s parents, Lila and Chris, shared their thoughts on the song their son wrote before his passing. “I think it’s a song that was meant to be written, especially with the crisis that we have in our country with fentanyl. It talks about drug dealers being friendly but not being your friends. And it’s such a true statement because right now, a lot of people that are dying from fentanyl, which are all young kids, don’t even know that’s what it is, because they’re not being told and it’s not what they’re ordering,” Lila Don said.

The statistics paint a grim picture of the fentanyl epidemic’s impact. In California alone, fentanyl-related deaths have skyrocketed, claiming 6,095 lives in 2022, averaging 225 lives lost each week.

The crisis disproportionately affects communities of color, with Black and Latino Californians experiencing an alarming increase in overdose deaths of more than 200% between 2017 and 2021. Fentanyl’s hidden danger lies in its prevalence in counterfeit pills and other substances, often unbeknownst to users. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reports that 7 out of every 10 pills seized contain a lethal dose of fentanyl.

Throughout the event, attendees and speakers alike emphasized the importance of education, testing, and access to life-saving tools like naloxone (Narcan) and fentanyl test strips. Reality TV star Chris Hahn shared his personal connection to the cause, having lost friends to fentanyl in his home state of New Jersey. “If I could do anything to make a change, I would love to do that,” he said. “So that’s why I’m here. I want to change, and we got to build a community up so we could all do it together.”

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Netflix Star Chris Hahn arrives at Stomp Fentanyl Fashion Show

Actor and model Calix Quan, known for his appearance on RuPaul’s Drag Race, also attended the event and shared his thoughts on combating the fentanyl epidemic. “I think that like every, like a lot of problems, it all starts with education and awareness. Right. Understanding that, where to find information, finding the right resources and the support groups that can help with that,” he said.

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Calix Quan arrives at Stomp Fentanyl Fashion Show

Quan’s involvement with FentanylSolution.org stems from his personal experiences. “I’ve always looked for ways to support the community, and I personally have been impacted by friendships that were lost due to drug abuse and use overdose. So as a result, when I came across this organization, it inspired me to collaborate and find ways that I can help spread awareness of the issue that fentanyl is,” he shared.

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Former California State Senator Pat Bates arrives at Stomp Fentanyl Fashion Show

California Senator Pat Bates was honored with a certificate for her service as the chairwoman of the board of FentanylSolution.org, recognizing her dedication to addressing this pressing issue. The event also highlighted the role of community leaders like Shane Wood in driving change and supporting those affected by the epidemic.

As the evening came to a close, Shane Wood made a heartfelt appeal to the audience. “Your support is crucial in helping us continue our life-saving work,” he said. “Every donation, no matter the size, brings us one step closer to ending this devastating epidemic. Together, we can make a difference and save lives.”

The “Stomp Fentanyl” fashion show served as a powerful reminder that fashion can be a force for change, uniting people from all walks of life in the fight against a common enemy. By raising awareness, promoting education, and providing access to life-saving resources, FentanylSolution.org and its supporters are working tirelessly to turn the tide of the fentanyl epidemic and save countless lives.

The road ahead may be challenging, but events like “Stomp Fentanyl” offer hope and inspiration, proving that when communities come together with love, compassion, and a shared sense of purpose, even the most daunting obstacles can be overcome. As Kenneth W. Welch Jr. so aptly put it, “This is something that really requires assistance. We’re here to do that. We want to see this change. We got too many dying in America. Poisoning is not a way to go.”

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Keri Ann Kimball, and Lauren Mosley at Stomp Fentanyl Fashion Show

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Georg Engelmann (L) and Kenneth W. Welch Jr. at Stomp Fentanyl Fashion Show

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Steven Whitney McMillan at Stomp Fentanyl Fashion Show

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Netflix Star Jason Cohen arrives at Stomp Fentanyl Fashion Show

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Netflix Star Isaiah Harmison arrives at Stomp Fentanyl Fashion Show

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Jax Malcolm arrives at Stomp Fentanyl Fashion Show

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