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Tucson families discuss losing loved ones to fentanyl, work to raise awareness

Tucson families discuss losing loved ones to fentanyl, work to raise awareness
Posted at 5:09 PM, Jun 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-03 20:16:04-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Families who have lost loved ones to fentanyl are sounding the alarm. A group gathered in downtown Tucson today to warn others about this lethal drug. It’s one of many rallies against fentanyl happening across the United States in 37 locations this summer.

Two years ago, Amy Neville found her 14-year-old son lying dead in his bedroom.

“He was blue, wasn’t breathing, he was cold,” Neville said.

Alexander Neville bought pills on Snapchat that he thought was Oxycontin. He had spoken to his parents about his interest in these drugs and was getting help.

“People say talk to your kids, we talked to Alexander, if talking was all it took, Alex would've lived forever,” Neville said.

But none of them knew about the deeper problem.

“We didn’t know about fentanyl, we were missing a key piece of information,” Neville said.

That’s why Amy joined others at a rally in downtown Tucson on Friday. Many who came had also lost loved ones to fentanyl poisoning.

“We’re out here trying to bring awareness because a lot of people don’t know about fentanyl being in other drugs, being in fake pills," said Theresa Guerrero, rally organizer.

According to the association of people against lethal drugs, fentanyl is the number one cause of death in Americans ages 18 to 45. And the problem hits close to home. Last year, eight million fentanyl pills were seized nationwide, more than a million of them were in Tucson.

“I don’t want any other children to die from this evil drug, so I’m an advocate now,” Guerrero said.

Families of these victims say it can happen to anyone, so people need to spread the word.

“Alexander’s death couldn’t be for nothing," Neville said. "It couldn’t be so some drug dealer makes a couple bucks. He’s way too important for that.”

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DEA working to curb fentanyl availability as overdose deaths rise

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Perla Shaheen is a reporter for KGUN 9. Perla graduated in May 2020 from the University of California, Berkeley, where she majored in Political Science. Share your story ideas and important issues with Perla by emailing perla.shaheen@kgun9.com or by connecting on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.