SAN MARCOS, Texas - Families from across Texas came together for a DEA summit on Texas State University’s campus. These families all had one thing in common, they've all lost a loved one to a fentanyl overdose.
Stefanie Turner can easily describe her son, Tucker.
"My son Tucker, I always say he was born with such adventure in his heart," she said.
However, in 2021, she says things changed. Turner says her son started taking what he believed to be Xanax pills while he was out of work for a broken hand and for anxiety.
"After 10 weeks of that, I found him nearly dead from fentanyl poisoning," said Turner.
She says she found out Tucker was buying what he believed was prescribed Xanax.
"No, he should not have done that. We talked about not doing that. He told me he was taking xanax, but I didn't know what fentanyl was. I didn't understand that it was 50 times stronger than heroin and that it creates a huge addiction," she said.
Turner says she did everything to help her son. She put him through a couple of treatment centers and was there for him every step of the way.
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She says he seemed better, and he even had plans to complete a triathlon with his dad, but then Tucker made a fatal mistake.
"A couple of days before his triathlon, he made a terrible decision, and he purchased a pill on social media and was found 10 hours later," she said.
Two years later, Turner wears a button with her son’s photo on it, and she helps parents who are dealing with a similar loss.
"Losing a child. There's nothing like it," she said.
She founded an organization called Texas Against Fentanyl. She also got House Bill 3908 passed, better known as Tucker's Law.
"Tucker's Law requires fentanyl education in grades six through 12," said Turner.
In 2021, the DEA seized 47,000 fentanyl laced pills. That number doubled in 2022, and Assistant Special Agent Brian Cole says they've seized over 100,000 pills so far in 2023.
"Every day we're out seizing fentanyl. We're seizing it in pill form, tablet form, we're seizing that in cocaine, methamphetamine and heroin, so it's literally everywhere," said Cole.
He says 7 out of 10 pills could have fentanyl and 3 out of 10 contain a fatal dose.
"One pill can kill, that it's not a slogan, that is reality and that we need to have open conversations with our families, with our loved ones, so that we're making them aware of the dangers that are out there and that exist and that they can have deadly consequences," said Cole.
Even though Turner says the pain she feels is indescribable, she continues to help other families and advocates the dangers of fentanyl.
"I just know that Tucker wouldn't want any family to suffer and feel the pain that we have to live with every day," she said.