SPOKANE, Wash. – Fentanyl continues to create a health crisis in our region. Spokane County’s Medical Examiner has already reported more than 50 Fentanyl overdose deaths, with many fearing that number will continue to grow.

One local hip-hop artist, who admits he used to have a serious drug problem, says he knows he easily could have been one of those statistics. It’s one of the many reasons why he appreciates the little things.

"It’s a beautiful day, it’s great,” Anthony Kistenmacher said. “I like fall and spring, the changing. Going from one thing to another. I see everything different now. Just walking out and smelling clean air.”

Because for well over a decade, that was a luxury he admits he didn’t deserve based on his criminal activity.

“I spent 14 years altogether (in Washington prisons) and that’s not counting time in county jail,” he said.

Anthony says he got involved in illegal activity in his late elementary school years.

“I had some rough stuff happen to me,” he said. “It really messed my life up. I’ll say what it is. I was molested as a young boy. It lead to me being in trouble, a lot of messed up years.”

As just a kid, he was on both sides in a vicious cycle of child sex abuse. At times, both the abused and the abuser.

“I just hated the world,” he said.

And he took it out on the streets.

“I was charged with a drive-by shooting,” he said, “Gun possession.”

He says there was a time when his life was consumed with drugs, booze, guns and gangs. As he transitioned into adulthood, it meant graduating from juvenile detention to the state penitentiary. A place he would return to four times.

“I had done five years, got out for four months went back and did five more years,” he said.

July 9th, 2012. That was the day his most recent sentence was up. When inmate 781511 was finally ready to put up a fight to become more than just six numbers.

“My name is Anthony … (but) my stage name is Demon Assassin,” he said

A new identity. A new purpose.

"Music saved my life so many times and in so many ways,” he said.

He says the passion he gets from creating music helped him with his war against addiction. In the years since his final release from custody, he says he would try to get clean and then relapse. A pattern that repeated itself often and almost proved to be more than he could take.

“One day I felt like I was dying, I was almost wishing it,” he said. “I was welcoming it. Like I take one of these and no more hell. That would be it.”

He knew he would need help. Help from his family, his friends, and professionals.

“Coming off Fentanyl pills was the worst thing I ever went through in my life,” he said. “I truly thought I would die.”

But he survived the pull of the pills and has been sober for more than four years. He goes to support groups, has confidants he can turn to in his darkest moments. He also has relied on his faith.

“I thank God every day,” he said.

He says he’s signed a record deal with a label based in New York. He has traveled across the country for shows and has fans across the region. But he says what he’s been most proud of is his family. He says his wife has supported him through the worst of days.

But even as Anthony has so much good going on in his life, he says Fentanyl continues to take.

“My little cousin, he turned 18,” he said. “He took one pill and he died. He was a good kid man.”

The counterfeit killer took another cousin too. It’s killed friends as well.

“I didn't want to be part of the problem,” he said. “I wanted to be part of the solution.”

And a recording studio in North Spokane is where he finds his part in that.

He and fellow artist Trenell Madison wrote a song about Fentanyl in hopes it can somehow educate and warn potential users.

“I've always felt like my experiences through life will help other people,” he said.

And whether that’s to get sober or realize the seasons of your past don’t have to define your future, he just hopes it reaches someone who is struggling. He wants them to know better days are possible.

"If you need help, if you're out there and feel there's no hope, there is hope,” he said. “Don’t give up. You can’t give up.”

He is currently organizing a show where he will play the song in Spokane on November 13 at the Conversation Piece. He is asking anyone interested in coming to provide whatever donation they can afford to be donated toward local resources to help those battling addiction get clean