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South Florida Mothers Cope With Loss After Losing Sons To Fentanyl-Related Deaths

FORT LAUDERDALE (CBSMiami) -- As several areas in South Florida rank, the highest n the state for fentanyl-related deaths, emotional families who lost loved ones to the drug are pleading for change.

"We're never the same, we're never the same and it will never be the same without him," says Cynthia Dodds.

5 years ago, Dodds lost her 24-year-old son Kyle - he overdosed on a drug-laced with fentanyl.

"There's a hollowness inside only he can fill, and it's hard to see other families intact at the holidays," says Dodds.

"I'll be home for Christmas, I'm telling you it's on a loop in every grocery store right now so how do think that makes me feel."

It's a similar experience for Bonnie Witler, she just lost her twenty-eight-year-old son Jason earlier this year, also to a drug laced with fentanyl.

"If we get fentanyl and carfentanyl and other drugs off the streets, they have a chance to live," says Witler.

This is the reality countless South Florida families are dealing with.

A new report from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement shows three districts in South Florida are in the top ten for fentanyl-related deaths.

The Fort Lauderdale area is the highest, followed by West Palm Beach and the Miami area a few cities down.

In some cases, fentanyl was the only drug found; in many, fentanyl was found in combination with other drugs.

The data is on the minds of the Drug Enforcement Agency's Miami Field Office.

Specifically in South Florida, the DEA says there is an alarming trend with fentanyl and methamphetamine being distributed in our community.

"Now it's changed from addiction to straight fatality", says Donald Garrett, Acting Deputy Special Agent In Charge.

"Recreational users, individuals who are using these pills or other substances that may be laced with fentanyl, and only two milligrams is all that it takes, if that's ingested, you have the possibility of terminating your life."

The DEA is encouraging folks to report any illegal drug activity through their anonymous tip line.

Violations can include things like drug trafficking or growing of a substance.

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