AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas Gov. Greg Abbott announced last month, he’s going to take steps to allow someone to be prosecuted more harshly for giving non-prescription fentanyl to another person, but for Victoria Trevino’s family, it’s too little, too late.
Trevino’s family is pushing for fentanyl dealers to be charged with murder in Texas, along with more aggressive efforts by law enforcement to pursue those people. Trevino died after being given a pill that was laced with fentanyl in September, her family said. Nobody was charged, even though the family says they know who gave it to her.
“These people that sell that stuff they don’t care, it’s just $5 in their pocket for a life,” JoAnn Lopez, Trevino’s grandma, said. “Other states are bringing awareness and they’re even charging the dealer, if they’re caught, with a murder charge.”
Pressed pills can be laced with fentanyl, and people may not realize they’re ingesting the potentially deadly substance. Trevino’s grandmother says she doesn’t call Trevino’s death an overdose because she doesn’t believe her granddaughter knew there was fentanyl in the drugs she took.
This family’s story is unfortunately one that a growing number of people in Austin and around the country are experiencing as well. That was also the case for a family in Cedar Park as well as a Texas Longhorn linebacker last year.
It’s something the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) sent a letter to law enforcement agencies across the country about last week warning of “mass-overdose events” caused by fentanyl. In that letter, the DEA named an overdose event that happened last month in downtown Austin.
The DEA wrote that 21 people overdosed in Austin on March 4, three of those people died. That mass overdose happened at a homeless shelter near 7th and Sabine after people took crack cocaine and methamphetamine laced with fentanyl, the letter said.
The DEA noted that in the United States last year, more people died of fentanyl-related overdoses than gun-related deaths and auto-related deaths combined, something the DEA is trying to combat. In 2021, the agency found more than 15,000 pounds of fentanyl, enough to kill every single person in America, the DEA said.
“I just want to bring awareness to this fentanyl issues because kids are dying, children are dying,” Lopez said.