A billboard along Parkway East a few miles east of Pittsburgh shows the faces of 92 people with a tragic connection.
All died of fentanyl poisoning.
“The fentanyl crisis is only getting worse in our country, and it’s not getting the coverage it needs to educate people, to warn parents and families,” said Adrienne Sautter, co-founder of the organization. nonprofit 4 Them We Fight based in Ohio.
“It doesn’t just affect one socio-economic area. It affects all ages, races and cultures.
The nonprofit, created this year, is made up of mothers who have lost children to fentanyl. He uses his non-profit status to get billboards for discounted public service announcements. It is also looking for companies or individuals to sponsor the brands.
Families who have lost loved ones to fentanyl then split the remaining costs to place a family member’s photo on a billboard, sometimes for as little as $10 or $25, Sautter said. .
Other billboards have popped up in Ohio, California, Colorado and Nevada, Sautter said. The one in western Pennsylvania was on display throughout August.
In addition to billboards, Sautter said the nonprofit has used running boards on mobile trucks with digital advertising screens in states including Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, Kansas and New Jersey.
Ashley Morabito, who died of an overdose in June 2018 at age 24, is one of the people featured on the Western Pennsylvania billboard.
The man who sold her heroin containing fentanyl was sentenced to 4 to 8 years in prison for his role in her death.
Her mother, Deborah Morabito of New Kensington, said she tries to keep in touch with organizations that raise awareness of the dangers of fentanyl. She contacted 4 Them We Fight about a spot on the billboard last month.
“My goal is to help raise awareness,” Morabito said. “It’s basically about wiping out an entire generation.”
Sautter, from Toledo, Ohio, said she lost her son, Jayden Miller, to fentanyl in August 2021. He was 19 when he decided to “experiment” with what he thought was a percocet pill but was actually fentanyl, her mother said.
Sunday marked the first National Fentanyl Prevention and Awareness Day, Sautter said.
“We really want people to pay attention, to help us fight back, to take this crisis seriously, to be vigilant with their families and loved ones,” she said.
Sautter warned that the prevalence of fentanyl appears to be getting worse.
“There are no more second chances. The drug supply is contaminated with fentanyl – and it’s only getting worse,” she said. “There are children who experiment. They don’t know any better. They don’t know that trying just one pill could cost them their life.