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Boynton woman says she's surrounded by opioid crisis

Posted at 8:16 PM, Feb 09, 2018
and last updated 2018-02-09 20:16:39-05

For more than 30 years Wanda Cantrell has saved lives, but never during a trip to the grocery store.

A couple of weeks ago, Cantrell took a trip to Publix she would never forget.

"All I know was I was not going to let her die," she said.

Cantrell was there to pick up ingredients to make banana bread pudding, but never made it to the check out line. 

"And I went in and went to the bathroom and there was some lady crawling underneath the bathroom stall and I thought... hmm what is this lady doing," she recalled.

Seconds later it became clear.

"Syringe was still in her hand when I found her," Cantrell said.

Others ran out of the bathroom, but Cantrell went to work.

"I pulled her out into the floor and she was really really blue, her eyes were rolled up into her head and she was doing what nursing calls Agonal breathing," she said.

Working as a nurse for more than 30 years she had seen this before, but never like this, inside a Publix bathroom. That evening she helped save a woman's life, but it reminded her of the lives she can't save.

"I feel like I've failed them," she said. I failed at being a mother, I failed at being a grandmother. I failed at everything," she said.

She told me that night in the bathroom she saw two familiar faces. Cantrell said both her son and grandson struggle with opioid addiction.

"He's skin and bones. He has no teeth because of his drug use," she said. "He's suffering from liver failure."

She's gone through countless rehab programs, spent thousands of dollars, but nothing has helped. She's hoping sharing her story will.

"Do not, do not ever say it will not happen to me or my family. Never. because that will be the next person it happens to."


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