‘One pill can kill’: Brevard families fight against fentanyl deaths

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — A group of Brevard County parents are united in their fight against fentanyl.


They’ve all lost a child or children to the synthetic opioid.

April Smith told us, “I want people to know this drug is like rat poison. It’s not necessarily addicts that are dying, babies are dying. They’re not even knowing their consuming this poison.”

Smith and a number of other Brevard County parents got together to buy space for a digital billboard along U.S. 1 in Rockledge in partnership with a nonprofit called Rachel’s Angels.

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The billboard shows some of the people whose lives were lost to illegally manufactured fentanyl.

Brett Gibney told his son Brent always had a problem with opiates and pills, but he didn’t even know he had fentanyl.

The Brevard County Medical Examiner’s office says in 2023, it recorded 25 fentanyl deaths, another 5 were attributed to fentanyl and ethanol, and 121 deaths were caused by fentanyl and some other drug combination.

Read: ‘Guaranteed poison:’ Orlando woman charged after investigation into overdose death

Debra Hanby told us, that fentanyl doesn’t discriminate.

It claimed her son David.

“Kids don’t listen to their parents,” she said. “They think it’s not going to happen to them. They’re invincible. But, one pill can kill.”

Read: 9 things to know about fentanyl

And it’s a pain Crystal Hoozer doesn’t want any family to experience. Her son Mathew died at 20.

She found his body.

“I don’t want any other parent to bury their child,” Hoozer said. “It’s a pain I can’t explain.”

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