HAYS COUNTY, Texas — A Hays County mother who lost her son to an overdose is spreading awareness of the dangers of fentanyl with a billboard along Interstate 35.
Janel Rodriguez booked the billboard that shows her son, Noah, and two other Hays CISD students who passed away. She is hoping with so many people seeing it along I-35 that it can prevent more drug overdoses.
"I miss him. There are no words to express how much I miss him. He was my baby," Rodriguez said.
Noah went to Johnson High School in Buda and loved playing football.
"He was everything," his mother said.
Rodriguez said her son overdosed from fentanyl poisoning after taking a pill back in August 2022.
She raised money through her organization, Forever15project.org, to get the billboard ad put up.
Over the past year, there have been at least four fentanyl-related deaths with Hays CISD students. As of Jan. 9, a fifth potential death is being investigated.
"Fentanyl is here, and it can take your loved one. And don't ever think that it can't happen to you because I had an honor-roll student, an athlete, and he's gone. If it's not coming from your pharmacy, your doctor, do not take anything off the street, from a friend, anything you find on the ground. It’s just not worth the risk," Rodriguez said.
The rotating billboard is up along I-35 near the Buda and Kyle city lines. The billboard started running Sunday and will be up for at least three months.
Rodriguez hopes there can be more billboards like this.
"I have made it my mission to spread awareness to hopefully prevent this from happening to any other family," Rodriguez said.
On Jan. 11, Rodriguez informed KVUE that the billboard company donated seven spaces to increase awareness. Billboards are now up and running in Jarrell, Smithville, Converse and La Marque.