GEORGETOWN, Texas – Family members who have tragically lost loved ones to fentanyl gathered at the Williamson County Courthouse on National Fentanyl Prevention and Awareness Day. Their intention was to raise awareness about the dangerous consequences of this drug, urging others to stay vigilant.
Sheriff Mike Gleason delivered a powerful message to the drug dealers responsible for killing people, including teenagers. He sternly warned them, saying, “We’re coming after you and you won’t see us coming because they don’t look like me.” The sheriff’s statement conveyed an unwavering determination to bring justice to these criminals.
Sheriff Gleason further emphasized the gravity of the situation, highlighting that some dealers have multiple deaths associated with them. He stated, “We have some of these guys and girls, these dealers, they have 3, 4, 5, 9 bodies attached to them.” Such alarming figures reinforce the urgent need for action and prevention.
Tragic losses due to fentanyl continue to plague communities. Williamson County alone has reported at least 29 deaths caused by fentanyl poisoning this year, while Travis County has recorded at least 14 similar fatalities. These distressing statistics underscore the severity of the crisis and demonstrate the vital importance of combating this deadly drug.
Stefanie Turner, a grieving mother who lost her son to fentanyl poisoning, expressed her motivation to protect other children from falling victim to this tragedy. “We’re doing it for the living children. We want parents to not be us,” Turner said. Her heartfelt plea serves as a reminder of the devastating impact that fentanyl can have on families and the urgent need for preventative measures.
To address the escalating crisis, local officials, including the Sheriff’s Office, recently established the Central Texas Task Force Overdose Investigation Team. This specialized unit aims to prosecute individuals involved in distributing fentanyl while also providing rehabilitation services to community members affected by the drug. By adopting a comprehensive approach that combines law enforcement with support and treatment, authorities hope to address both the supply and demand sides of the issue.
Sheriff Gleason emphasized the importance of cooperation, offering a choice to those seeking help. He stated, “When someone comes to me, there’s no, no, because either I get you in rehab because we’ve partnered with Blue Bonnet Trails, we’ve partnered with Rise Recovery, and they will scholarship all of your rehab that you want.” This unique approach aims to incentivize individuals to provide valuable information about drug dealers, offering them an opportunity to seek treatment instead of facing harsh legal consequences.
Various organizations, such as A Change For Cam and Texas Against Fentanyl, have also emerged to combat the perils of fentanyl. These groups, founded by parents who tragically lost their sons to the drug, are dedicated to raising awareness and educating others about its dangers. By sharing their personal experiences, these brave families hope to prevent more lives from being claimed by fentanyl.
Turner highlighted the critical knowledge gap that often exists among parents regarding the drug’s dangers. She explained, “Parents don’t understand the dangers of it because we haven’t lived it, but our kids have access to something that parents aren’t educated on.” In light of this insight, the angel families, as they are referred to, fervently advocate for increased awareness, emphasizing the importance of spreading information to ultimately save lives.
The gathering at the Williamson County Courthouse exemplified the resilience of those affected by this epidemic. Through their collective efforts and shared experiences, they aim to bring about substantial change and prevent further devastating losses to fentanyl.