A mom claims her son will “never be the same again” after smoking a fentanyl-laced vape.
Lynda Amos said her “straight-A” son Zach Corona, 13, has been brain-damaged after school bullies reportedly forced him to smoke the laced vape.
Amos, 45, said the vape, which was hidden in her son’s underwear, caused him to have a stroke due to the deadly fentanyl — which is up to 50 times stronger than heroin.
Corona, from Dalton, Georgia, was found unconscious by his 12-year-old sister Katie, who initially assumed he was “playing” — until she realized the was unresponsive when she tried to tickle him.
“Zach sometimes tricks his sister and acts like he’s asleep, then when she bends down to tickle him, he jumps up and scares her,” the mother of five told Kennedy News and Media. “She thought he was playing. She started tickling him and there was no response.”
“I thought he was joking around, too. [Then] when I picked up his arm, it just fell down. That’s when I knew something was wrong,” she added.
Amos discovered her son passed out in the living room recliner after complaints of chest pain at 6 p.m. on Jan. 1.
Corona was brought to Children’s Hospital in Erlanger, Tennessee, 30 minutes later — and he flatlined just minutes after arriving.
“The ambulance asked if he’d ingested anything and I said, ‘No, there’s nothing in the house for him to ingest.’ I had no idea what was happening,” Amos said. “It was terrifying. I was praying to God to let my son live, to bring him back.”
Doctors confirmed that he had suffered a stroke and was put on life support after being resuscitated.
“He wasn’t responding to anything, and then they told me they were going to lose him if I didn’t sign a paper to put him on ECMO. I said, ‘Do anything you can to bring him back. Don’t let him die,’” Amos shared.
It wasn’t until the doctors cut off his clothes and discovered a vape pen laced with opioid fentanyl, along with marijuana, that Amos knew what had happened to her son.
“[Doctors] told me that he would never be the same boy that he was. He was a straight-A student,” Amos told Kennedy News.
Corona was in a coma for 2½ weeks, and doctors thought he would never come out of it.
After he woke up from the coma, Corona said that a group of eight boys and one girl forced him to smoke the vape pen in front of them — and said that they would “beat him up” if he didn’t hide it for them.
Even though the bullies had been “slapping him in the face” and calling him names for months on end, his mother said, Corona truly believed they “were his friends.”
“I was feeling hatred. I was angry about who could have done this to him,” the concerned mom recalled. “He told me that he’s confused about why the kids have done this to him because he said they were his friends. They’d been slapping him in the face and calling him names.”
Corona was taken later to Children’s Healthcare in Atlanta, Georgia, to receive speech, physical and occupational therapy and stayed there until Feb. 21.
He’s now receiving outpatient therapy.
The 13-year-old boy is also seeing a psychiatrist and a counselor.
“The psychiatrist even said to him, ‘You know they were never your friends to begin with. Your friends would never do anything to try and hurt you and kill you,’” Amos shared.
Corona has experienced seizures, lost sight in his right eye and lost function in his left arm due to damage to the right side of his brain.
He also has trouble with balance, leaving him in a wheelchair, and needed to re-learn how to count and speak, as well as other basic tasks.
“Because of the severity of the stroke, it damaged the right side of his brain, and it’s permanently damaged. It will never come back,” Amos shared. “He has to be in a wheelchair because he can’t walk very well. It made him go blind in his right eye. They messed my son up for life.”
Doctors said it’s unlikely that Corona will ever regain the full function of his left arm, but his mom is hopeful he will get better.
Amos is currently trying to raise money on GoFundMe to cover medical expenses, as well as raise awareness for parents to be proactive when it comes to bullying.
“These kids are out there, running around, living their lives the way they want to. They don’t have anything wrong with them — meanwhile, my son’s fighting for his life. It isn’t right,” she said. “He’s still upset about it, and still confused. These parents need to be careful and listen to their kids. If they say they’re being bullied, the parents need to do something about it.”
The Post has reached out to the Whitfield County, Georgia, Sheriff’s Office for comment.
“There isn’t any telling how many other people those kids have done that to —- and if they hurt another child, they might not come back like my son did,” Amos added.
“It was a miracle that my son came back. He was dead. My son died.”