Watch CBS News

'One pill can kill': Families speak out against dangers of fentanyl

Parents warn about fentanyl overdoses
Parents warn about fentanyl overdoses 02:11

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM)  "One pill can kill;" that's the message from the Drug Enforcement Administration as the agency continues to alert the public about the dangers of opioids – especially fentanyl.

The DEA held a news conference on Thursday along with several U.S. Attorneys to push the message with the hope of reducing demand for the potentially deadly drug. 

"Our DEA special agents and task force officers and intelligence analysts are working relentlessly to identify criminal networks operating in our neighborhoods from the street dealer responding to a request over social media to the transportation and distribution cells bringing tens of thousands of pills to the ultimately cartel bosses working internationally," said Eduardo Chavez, DEA Special Agent in Charge.

According to the agency, 1.2 million fentanyl pills were seized across the country in a four-month span earlier this year. 

"Fake pills containing fentanyl and the organizations that traffic them have been identified in every corner of North Texas," added Chavez. 

Fentanyl can be manufactured to look like ordinary pills of many different colors and shapes. 

According to the DEA, fentanyl is often manufactured in China. The country has placed fentanyl, analogs, and precursors under government regulations, but the DEA says these laws have not slowed the production of the drug. 

The fentanyl is then shipped to Mexico, where it is pressed into pills and brought over here by drug cartels. 

There are two cartels that are the main culprits: the Sinaloa Cartel and the Cartel de Jalisco Nueva Generacion. 

"If you're making this stuff, or even worse, buying it from some source you don't know, and selling it to somebody and they take it and die – and we can prove those things – my office will prosecute you for that and you will be in prison a long time," said Chad Meacham, U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Texas. 

Ofie Moreno lost her son, Sebastian, to fentanyl earlier this year.

The drug has torn apart North Texas families. 

"It's been the hardest thing me and my family has to go through," said Ofie Moreno, who lost her son, Sebastian, in February of this year. "These last few months, it's just been horrible."

"She didn't intend to die that day, she was my best friend, she was my mini-me," said Misty Little, who lost her daughter to fentanyl poisoning. 

"She had a really beautiful heart, she was really kind," said Danile Alvarado, who lost his daughter Angelina Rodgers to the drug. 

The DEA urges parents to talk with their children about this crisis and to teach them not to take pills that aren't prescribed to them. 

"You need to be able to bring this up. You need to be able to talk about that fact that pills that are given to you by a friend, that are in the locker rooms, in the classrooms, or offered via social media [may] contain fentanyl," added Chavez.

"I highly suggest everybody kind of have a mental health checkup yearly make sure they have someone to talk to... Parents should not think it's not going to happen to them," said Kathy O'Keefe, who lost her son in 2010 to an accidental drug overdose. 

"Talk to your children, you know, never stop talking about them, never stop warning them," added Moreno. 

These parents are speaking out about this danger so other parents and families won't have to experience this pain. 

"We do advocate and try to bring awareness so that this will not happen to someone else's child," added parent Christina Pena. 

To learn more about this epidemic, you can visit the DEA's website.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.