NELSON COUNTY, Ky. — Angela Parkerson will never get another day with her son. In April 2021, Nick Rucker took what he thought was half a pill of the prescription pain killer Percocet. It turned out to be a fatal dose of fentanyl.
"My son was 24 when he was poisoned by fentanyl in Bardstown," Parkerson said. "We all have to understand that Fentanyl changed everything."
Now, Parkerson looks to create change of her own—positive change, bringing awareness to the dangers of fentanyl.
Saturday, her son's face dawned a set of new billboards posted across Kentucky.
She said changes may soon come to Nelson County -- the place he died.
"His legacy here is to help me bring education and prevention into the community," she said.
One of Parkerson's ideas is to bring a life-saving Narcan vending machine to the area.
Nelson County judge executive Tim Hutchins acknowledges the severity of his area's growing drug problem, but opposes the machine.
"I see it. I'm aware of it. You hear about it every day picking up the news," Hutchins said. "Fentanyl has come in and, I guess you could call it a game changer."
Kentucky's fentanyl crisis has only gotten worse over the last year, with the number of overdose deaths rising 14% in 2021.
Still, Hutchins doesn't see machines stocked with Narcan, accessible to everyone, as the solution.
"These machines [that're] free, they're emptied pretty quick. And some attract people there that may not be in that community," Hutchins said. "It's free, they may clear it out, they may get one, they may get 10 and sell it to their buddies."
While those are Hutchins' beliefs, here are Parkerson's:
"[Hutchins] calls it enabling, which, we say the only thing Narcan enables is breathing, because even though my son didn't know he'd need Narcan, narcan could have, in fact, saved his life," she said.
Hutchins said 20 of the county's top leaders will attend a community meeting April 26. All Nelson County residents are welcome.
"I want everybody to sit down and discuss this and be open minded," Hutchins said.
Hutchins said more information will be released in the coming week.
►Sign up for the WHAS11 newsletter: "WHAS Up Kentuckiana." Get the latest headlines and videos from around Kentuckiana delivered daily to your inbox.