Kyle billboard shows 3 Hays CISD students who died from fentanyl overdoses

A new billboard along I-35 displays three Hays CISD students who died from fentanyl overdoses. Hays CISD says they lost four students last year to the drug.

Right by Exit 217 on I-35 in Kyle sits a billboard with the faces of three teenage boys and the words "Fentanyl Steals Your Friends." All three teenage boys on the billboard lost their lives to a fentanyl overdose.

"To see these kids up there, their friends up there, and realize that this is not a joke," said Janel Rodriguez.

Rodriguez is one of the people behind the billboard.


"I wanted that statement to be loud and clear," she said.

A statement coming from a mother who lost her 15-year-old son Noah from a fentanyl overdose just last summer.

"It was probably the worst day of my life," said Rodriguez.

Her son Noah was a big brother, an honor roll student, and an athlete. She says after she lost him, she gained courage. From that day on, she vowed to spread awareness on kids and fentanyl overdoses in hopes of avoiding this from happening to another family.

Noah, 15, is pictured with his two sisters. (Janel Rodriguez )

One of the large efforts she came up with was the billboard which was funded through donations and something fully supported by the Hays County Sheriff’s Office.

"There's a million cars that drive up and down I-35 on a weekly basis, so if that sign could help one person not make that decision or have one person reach out and say, ‘I need help’, then the money is well-spent," said Anthony Hipolito, Deputy with Hays County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputy Hipolito says fentanyl overdoses continue to be a huge issue in the area. In 2022, he says the sheriff's office responded to 37 fentanyl poisons and 15 of those were kids.

Hays CISD reported four of their students passed away from fentanyl overdoses.

Deputy Hipolito says he appreciates parents like Rodriguez who step up to share their story.

"Although telling their story hurts, it's important to them that they get their story out and they try to bring as much awareness so that other families don't have to go through what they already have," he said.

Rodriguez says her son meant the absolute world to her, and it is important she continues to share his story in hopes of saving other kids.

"I don't know why this happened. I don't know why God allowed this to happen, but I do know that it was for a purpose, and I'm going to fulfill that purpose. My son did not die in vain," she said.

The billboard will be up for four months. They hope to extend that time frame through donations.