The mother is now raising awareness, and people are thanking her for it. "I've been getting a lot of thank you's from people saying that they're going to talk to their children."
Trigger Warning: This story contains details of drug abuse that may be disturbing to readers.
When Patricia Saldivar received a call in the middle of the night on June 1, 2021, saying that her youngest daughter was battling for her life in the hospital, she had no idea what to do. 22-year-old Cassandra Saldivar, who had a two-year-old child, had reportedly taken a pain medication that was laced with Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid.
According to Good Morning America, by the time Saldivar had gotten to the hospital, her beloved daughter had passed away. "It was a complete shock," said Saldivar. "I was like what in the world. I didn't know it was possible to lace a medication with fentanyl.
Fentanyl is used to "treat patients with chronic severe pain or severe pain following surgery," per the DEA, but it is also misused beyond imagination. The pills are often made to resemble real prescription opioid medication like Oxycontin, Vicodin, and Xanax, or stimulants like Adderall, according to the DEA. They are mostly manufactured in Mexico, with China supplying the chemicals.
In fact, the amount of fentanyl-laced pills seized by the Drug Enforcement Administration over the past eight weeks is enough to kill 700,000 people, DEA administrator Anne Milgram said at a press conference.
"We cannot stress enough the danger of these counterfeit pills," Milgram said. "We're seeing these pills being illegally sold in every state in the United States. They are cheap, they are widely available, they can be purchased online and on social media -- so through people's phones, and they're extremely dangerous."
"Do not take anything that is not prescribed to you by a doctor, even if it's from a friend," the grieving mother said. "If the bottle does not say your name on it, don't take it." Saldivar even rented out a giant billboard near AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, to try to raise awareness of the dangers of fentanyl. The billboard prominently features a photo of Cassandra, and it reads, in part, "1 pill that's all it took ... fentanyl kills."
Patricia Saldivar said her 22-year-old daughter Cassandra died after taking a pill laced with the drug fentanyl.— ABC News (@ABC) October 7, 2021
Now, her photo is featured on a giant billboard in Arlington, Texas, to try to raise awareness of the dangers. https://t.co/eJfyc0m7FP pic.twitter.com/oS4DmPwqbJ
Saldivar is also helping raise awareness on the issue by speaking out on TikTok and handing out flyers to high schools, to prevent something similar from happening to someone else, because she didn't know just how prominent the drug was in the U.S. "If I had known this before, I would have warned my kids, I would have said, 'Watch it. You better be careful,'" she said. "I've been getting a lot of thank you's from people saying that they're going to talk to their children."
Now, the only way she can honor her late daughter is by keeping her memory alive and trying her best to stop this from happening to another family. "It helps with my grief because I know I'm helping others," said Saldivar. "Cassandra's passing was not in vain. I'm keeping her memory alive."
Cover Image Source: YouTube | CBSDFW (North Texas Mother Rents Billboard With Deceased Daughter's Photo Telling Everyone 'Fentanyl Kills')