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Two moms who lost their kids to deadly drug are raising awareness against the crisis 'for the living'

Fentanyl consumption took away their kids, so the two moms are now waging a war against the crisis that killed over 111,000 people in the U.S. last year.

Two moms who lost their kids to deadly drug are raising awareness against the crisis 'for the living'
Cover Image Source: YouTube | Lost Voices of Fentanyl

Countless parents around the world have to bear the loss of their children to various forms of substance abuse. April Babcock and Virginia Krieger are two of those unfortunate moms who ended up losing their kids to fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid drug. But their similar tragedies have brought the two mothers together and made them pluck up their lost courage to begin an advocacy organization, Lost Voices of Fentanyl, to fight the crisis that keeps on claiming more and more lives each year, per PEOPLE. The outlet interviewed the women and discovered the backstory of their thoughtful initiative. "This is my war room," Babcock, 51, told the outlet while giving them a tour of a room upstairs in her house, which is full of posters and banners displaying those who have died due to fentanyl.


The Maryland resident lost her son Austen just over five years ago to the effects of the dangerous drug that has taken the lives of more than 112,000 people in the U.S. in 2023. Austen, who was struggling with addiction, was only 25 when he passed away and he didn't know that the cocaine he had bought and ingested in January 2019 contained the lethal fentanyl. Babcock decided to reach out to other families who had experienced similar losses and she started protesting in Washington DC to raise awareness about the drug.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | MART PRODUCTION
Representative Image Source: Pexels | MART PRODUCTION

The protests and campaigns introduced her to Krieger, who had lost her daughter Tiffany in 2015 after she ingested a pill from a friend that contained fentanyl. Tiffany was also a former "American Idol" semi-finalist who had a potentially bright future ahead, but she passed away at 26 and left behind two children. "It was like a magnet, we got pulled together," 59-year-old Krieger said. "She's my sister in grief." Babcock and Krieger have organized rallies with more than 1,800 people who lost their loved ones in similar ways and they are also working to change laws to stop fentanyl from taking more lives.


"It's to put a face to it," Krieger states about the banners they bring to their rallies. "They're not just numbers. These are children, these are infants, these are mothers, fathers, doctors, lawyers, friends, daughters, sons. This is our future and our future's dying. People have become so immune to it and we're trying to wake them up." However, the non-profit organization's growing community on Facebook also indicated a brutal truth. "When we grow, it means more loss, more suffering, more families and children going through this and it only represents a fraction of those affected by the drug. I'm on the phone with another mom or dad every day," says Babcock, whose son-in-law also died from the drug. 


Babcock and her organization prioritize testifying before the Maryland state legislature this month on two related bills and the creation of a federal requirement that the opioid antidote Narcan be as readily available in public spaces and stopping international fentanyl import at customs. "We refuse to use the word 'overdose,'" Krieger tells the outlet. "These are poisonings. Any time a person hides or disguises a harmful substance for another to consume without knowledge or intent, and it causes harm or injury, it is a poisoning by definition." Krieger recalls how her daughter Tiffany was given a pill that was made to look like Percocet meant for her back pain.

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Inimfon Ekpoh
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Inimfon Ekpoh

"By itself, that would not have harmed her, but it killed her," Krieger adds. "If that's not a poisoning, I don't know what is. Let's not blame the victims. Whether or not they consumed it doesn't mean that they overdosed." Babcock and Krieger do not plan to stop their mission as long as people continue to lose their lives to fentanyl abuse. "When we see the death toll continuing to go up, we start to feel powerless," Krieger admits. "But then we remember we’re doing it for the living. We can’t bring back our children, but we can prevent it from happening to somebody else. That keeps us moving."


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