CEDAR PARK, Texas — Andrea Hickman, Carilu Bell and Crickett Hummel are three Texas women whose loved ones passed away from fentanyl-related deaths.
Hickman's 17-year-old nephew, Andron Petteway of Austin, died in January 2022.
"It's heartbreaking to watch my sister go through this every single day without her baby, her kids. It's her world," Hickman said.
Carilu Bell is a mother whose 44-year-old son, Casey Dean Copeland of Austin, died from taking valium and fentanyl in August 2021.
"He was my first born. Living without him, I'll never be the same person. I tried real hard to be the person I was to my family and my friends," Bell said.
Then there is Crickett Hummel from Cedar Park, who lost her 18-year-old daughter, Tyler "Delli" Bonnet, in June 2022. Law enforcement told Hummel the suspected cause of her daughter's death was related to fentanyl.
"I miss her every day. I miss her with every ounce of my soul. She was my best friend, and I did everything I could to help her," Hummel said.
The number of fentanyl-related deaths is increasing in Central Texas. New state data shows there were a combined 251 overdoses in Travis, Williamson and Hays Counties in 2022.
All of these women are part of an organization called Texas Against Fentanyl and support a bill called "Tucker's Bill," introduced by State Rep. Terry Wilson, that would require school districts to provide at least 10 hours of instruction related to "fentanyl prevention and drug poisoning awareness" for sixth through 12th graders.
But Hickman is calling for younger kids in elementary school to get educated too because she worries about the safety of kids like her 8-year-old daughter, London Yates.
"When Halloween came around, she said, 'Mom, I don't want to go trick-or-treat.' She said, 'Someone might put fentanyl in my candy,'" Hickman said. "It's really sad that this is what the world is coming to."
Hummel's hope is to prevent this tragedy from happening to another family.
"It's just horrific for your child to be there one day, they have a future. In an instant, they're gone," Hummel said.