Zion Williams-Farrell was 14 when he took a Xanax with a friend while playing video games. He had no idea it was laced with fentanyl. He died in his sleep. The rise of accidental teen opioid overdoses
Zion Williams-Farrell was 14 when he took a Xanax while playing video games with a friend. He had no idea it was laced with fentanyl. He died in his sleep. The rise of teen opioid overdoses
At 14 years old, Zion Williams-Farrell was discovering what it meant to be cool. As a new Grade 9 student at St. Mary’s High School in Kitchener, he followed an unwavering morning routine: shower, hair, clothes, cologne. Often, he’d wear red, his favourite colour, and he’d begun pulling a visor over his curly hair. He had a shiny stud in his left ear. A dedicated football player from age 10, Zion carried a stick of deodorant in every bag—something his mother, Jaimie, and older sister, Taejohnna, teased him about. To him, style wasn’t just about looking good, but also about smelling good. He lifted weights religiously, working hard to maintain his six-pack. In the classroom, focusing was a struggle for him, but for the good-natured, handsome kid with a chill vibe, popularity came easy.
Around his friends, Zion sometimes swore and acted tough, but never at home. There, he doted on his five-yearold brother, Noah, diligently completed his chores, cheered on his mother’s efforts to be healthier and do one more sit-up. Jaimie Farrell, a sales associate at Victoria’s Secret, raised her kids largely on her own. Zion’s father had moved to Calgary for work when Zion was 10, and the boy saw himself as the man of the house—often adopting his father’s protective mannerisms. He’d admonish Noah for standing too close to the street, or for straying too far from his side. Whenever Jaimie took her children out for dinner, she’d always have to tell Zion to relax and stop fussing over his little brother; she could look after Noah, and Zion could be a kid.