WACO, Texas — Tears flow from the family of Alyssa Pastrana as they speak about the overdose that killed their daughter and her unborn baby.
"I didn't know I was going to be this emotional about it all again," said Laura Fuentes.
Alyssa was six months pregnant and was looking forward to having her first child. The day before her death she was planning the baby shower.
"I guess I was in a bubble not realizing what an epidemic it is," said Laura Fuentes.
Kids in Texas have already died this school year.
Fentanyl: a powerful opioid drug used in the treatment of severe pain.
Sadly we’ve become use to overdoses.
Alyssa Pastrana, 21, died of a fentanyl overdose. Now videos and memories before the unthinkable. pic.twitter.com/BMH2opQdUe
— Nick Bradshaw (@nbradshawtv) September 11, 2022
The family doesn't have all the details but from what they have been able to gather someone gave the 21-year-old a pill that was laced with Fentanyl. Just before her overdose, Alyssa was in a car accident.
The family said at the hospital she refused to take medication out of fear of what it could do to her unborn child. At some point, she received pills off the street and her autopsy shows she and the unborn boy died from a Fentanyl overdose.
"There is a sadness, those drug dealers are out there and I don't think they care," said Laura Fuentes.
Overdoses related to Fentanyl remain on the rise in Texas and across the country. Since the launch of Governor Abbott's Operation Lone Star, there have been 16,000 felony charges related to fentanyl. The Department of Public Safety seized over 326 million lethal doses during this border mission.
"Because of President Biden's open border policies, deadly fentanyl is flooding America, with enough seized lethal doses to kill almost every man, woman, and child in the nation," said Governor Abbott. "Mexican drug cartels are smuggling fentanyl into our country any way they can. It is laced into every other street drug available, as well as being disguised as legal prescriptions, as this lab has discovered. Because of the folks at this lab, who handle potentially lethal drugs every day, we are saving the lives of thousands of Texans from the deadly scourge of fentanyl."
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has used Fentanyl as an example of why Operation Lonestar is important for Texas and the country. The Department of Public Safety has been heading up Operation Lonestar and it's received major criticism.
"Cartels along the border are exploiting the federal government's open border policies to make money selling deadly fentanyl through counterfeit pills in the United States," said DPS Director McCraw. "Parents and grandparents should talk to their children about the risks of counterfeit pills."
Under the Abbott administration, the Texas program that gives out lifesaving drugs to combat opioid overdoses has run out of money.
“Everybody that’s been providing this training over the last few years, we’re all out,” Joy Alonzo, co-chair of the Opioid Task Force at Texas A&M University in College Station told The Texas Tribune. “We’re kind of on our own.”
There has been a call for Texas to step it up and make Narcan available to law enforcement and everyday citizens. Many want Texas to put some of the state’s own money into the program instead of relying on federal grants.
“As governor, Beto will lead the greatest expansion of mental health care access and substance abuse support in Texas history by expanding Medicaid. This is the best way to increase access to affordable mental and behavioral health care, including addiction treatment to 1.7 million Texans,” said Tori Larned, Beto for Texas press secretary. “Beto will also work across the aisle to pass popular, bipartisan, and commonsense legislation such as legalizing fentanyl test strips and providing police departments with state funding for Narcan so that more Texans have access to this life-saving drug that safely reverses opioid overdoses.”
Texas ranks 50th out of 51 in overall access to mental health care, reports show. Currently, only one in seven Texas children with major depression receive consistent treatment —almost half the national average.
"Abbott has also refused popular, bipartisan efforts to treat drug addiction by failing to legalize fentanyl test strips," said Tori Larned, Beto for Texas press secretary.
Rachel Fuentes, Alyssa's sister would like to see these laws change. Right now in Texas, if you're caught with fentanyl test strips you're looking at criminal charges.
"Instead of stigmatizing the person and calling them an addict, let's help them reduce the harm they might be causing themselves," said Rachel Fuentes.
The family also wants to see accountability for those making the drug available. Each day, it's a day where they miss Alyssa and a child they never got to meet.