HAYS COUNTY, Texas (KXAN) — Family after family has lost loved ones to fentanyl overdoses in Hays County. Some of them shared their stories Sunday. It was part of a fentanyl awareness meeting led by the Hays County Sheriff’s Office.

One mother who spoke was Shannon McConville.

“The next time I saw my son was at his service — six days later in his casket,” McConville said.

She said her son’s birthday would’ve been next week.

Janet Zarate’s nephew was another Hays County teenager who died of a fentanyl overdose.

“He took a Percocet … a fake Percocet and that was it. It was just one pill, and he was gone,” Zarate said.

Images of three Hays County students who passed from fentanyl overdoses
Three families told their stories after losing their loved ones to fentanyl overdoses.

Zarate said her nephew, Ryan, wasn’t able to walk across the stage for graduation.

“You don’t want to do this. You don’t want to bury your baby,” Zarate said.

The meeting was a chance for law enforcement and health professionals to share their experiences with the fentanyl crisis in the county.

“I took care of a 17 year old who was trying to study for AP exams, because he wanted to get into college and do really well on the SAT, and he took a street Adderall that was laced with fentanyl,” said Dr. Michael Kerr, medical director at Ascensions Seton Hays.

Deputy Anthony Hipolito with the Hays County Sheriff’s Office said overdoses continue to increase in the county.

“Hays County right now is one of the hottest spots for fentanyl overdoses in the state,” said Hipolito.

For the families personally touched by this, it was a chance to embrace one another through the grief.

They said they’ll continue to share their stories in the hopes of preventing one more death.

“This is real life. To the kids out there, imagine that being your mom,” McConville said.

The sheriff’s office said it’s planning another public meeting soon.