Parents of fentanyl poisoning victims rally for more action in fight against the drug

ByJamiese Price WTVD logo
Monday, August 22, 2022
Parents come together for first National Fentanyl Awareness Day
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.

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency is calling fentanyl the single deadliest drug threat the country has ever encountered.

Advocates like Patricia Drewes agrees and knows the impact firsthand. Her daughter Heaven Leigh died in 2019 from fentanyl poisoning.

"She was smart. She was beautiful. Had the world by the tail, but it happened. It happened," said Drewes.

"This stuff has no you know, it does not discriminate. It doesn't care about race. It doesn't care about religion. It doesn't care about your social standings. It can be anyone's child," Drewes continued.

Drewes and other mothers stood in the rain at the NC Capitol on Sunday for the first-ever National Fentanyl Awareness Day.

They're all working to make sure other families don't feel their pain.

"We have children in this country, 12, 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," explained Drewes.

Fighting fentanyl won't be easy. According to the CDC, there have been an estimated 107,000 people in this country die of drug overdoses in 2021. Nearly 70% of those deaths were linked to fentanyl.

It's odorless, tasteless, cheap, and extremely potent. Fentanyl is often found in fake pills disguised as Percocet, Xanax, Vicodin, and OxyContin.

"These people are not overdosing on fentanyl. They're being deceived," said Barbara Walsh, an advocate fighting against fentanyl.

She lost her daughter, Sophie, to fentanyl poisoning last August. She was 24-years-old.

"I miss my daughter terribly, " Walsh said, while fighting back tears. "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."

Along with educating the community advocates are also pushing for stronger laws and higher bonds for accused dealers.

They're also taking their fight to Washington DC for the Lost Voices of Fentanyl second annual rally in September.