Nov. 7, 2023 – “We’re feeling just as sad. I have the same pain, every single day,” she said in a Spanish interview that has since been translated to English. “Even though he’s not here, I remember him constantly. I remember the day I found him. That day still fills me with rage.”

Earlier this year, the Gwinnett County Medical Examiner told 11Alive that from January 2021 through February 2023, 18 teens died from drug overdoses. 11 of the 18 were Hispanic, and 17 of the 18 were killed by ingesting fentanyl.

“He used to always tell me he was concerned about fentanyl. He’d say a lot of his friends died from it,” Francisca mentioned.

Belisa Urbina, co-founder and CEO of nonprofit Ser Familia, said the organization, which provides mental health services to families, has seen an increase in those who need support due to underlying causes of drug use.

“I think that is related to the fact that our Latino kids feel more isolated than kids from other races and ethnicities,” Urbina explained. “They shoulder responsibilities that are way bigger than other teenagers and kids their age. Many times they’re the family interpreters, they’re the ones doing the family budgeting.”


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