RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is calling it the single deadliest drug threat the country has ever encountered.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times stronger than opioids, and is linked to nearly 70 percent of drug overdoses in the country.
Now the agency has dedicated today as a national day of prevention and awareness against fentanyl.
Parents in Raleigh who lost children in the fight against Fentanyl came together Sunday to demand stricter laws against accused dealers, and at the very least higher bonds for those facing charges.
Patricia Drewes lost lost her daughter, Heaven Leigh, to Fentanyl poisoning in 2019. Patricia shares in the same grief as many other families across the country.
"She was smart. She was beautiful. Had the world by the tail. But it happened.... It does not discriminate. It doesn't care about race. It doesn't care about religion. It doesn't care about your social standings," Drewes said. " It can be anyone's child. And that's what I tried to stress to everyone. Don't ever say not my child ever."
And it's because of their children that Patricia and other mothers stood in the rain at the state Capitol on Sunday for the first-ever National Fentanyl Awareness Day.
They are all working to make sure other families don't feel their pain.
"We have children in this country, 12, 13, 14 years old, going on Snapchat acquiring fake pills that you can't tell the difference between the pharmaceutical grade pill parents going to wake their children up and finding them dead," Drewes said.
According to the CDC, there have been an estimated 107 thousand people in this country die of drug overdoses in 2021. Nearly 70 percent of those deaths were linked to Fentanyl.
"These people are not overdosing on fentanyl. They're being deceived. That's what happened with my daughters, and there is an investigation going on into her death," Barbra Walsh said.
Walsh's daughter Sophie died in August of 2021 from Fentanyl poisoning at 24 years old. Walsh is now turning her pain into passion, and educating families on Fentanyl.
Fentanyl is an odorless, tasteless, cheap, and extremely potent synthetic opioid. It's often found in fake piles disguised as Percocet, Xanax, Vicodin, and OxyContin.
"I miss my daughter terribly. There are days, excuse me, there are days that are harder than others. But this is for her, and it's for all these other families as well. And I think it's the word fentanyl, talking about it is what we need to do," Walsh added.
The families will be taking their fight to Washington DC for the Lost Voices of Fentanyl Second Rally in September.