Moms who lost children to fentanyl in Virginia are advocating for change

Published: Mar. 25, 2023 at 7:13 PM EDT
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LYNCHBURG, Va. (WDBJ) - A group of women in Lynchburg is fighting to make sure that what happened to them doesn’t happen to another family. They are using a new billboard to spread awareness of the dangers of fentanyl.

Jacob Robertson loved baseball and would dance to cheer up his mom when she was sick. He was 15 years old when he died from a fentanyl overdose.

“He was my son,” said an emotional Jessica Diacont.

Diacont says Jacob unknowingly ingested one fentanyl-laced pill.

“It was very hard knowing that your son was laying there gray, and you couldn’t do anything about it,” said Diacont.

Diacont performed CPR but he died at a hospital. Now, she’s part of a group of moms who have also lost their children to fentanyl. Virginia Moms support each other and advocate for legislation.

“If I can save one child, that’s my goal,” explained Diacont. “Just one.”

Saturday, they came together to see a new billboard in Lynchburg showing the faces of their kids. The billboard was purchased by 4ThemWeFight.

“We are hoping that it raises awareness. That it warns other families about the danger of fake pills and illicit fentanyl that is flooding this country. And causing deaths,” said Virginia Moms Founder Sarah Link.

Link says more than 50 mothers are fighting for change.

The Virginia Department of Health Quarterly Drug Death Report shows fentanyl in all its forms is responsible for 76.4% of all fatal overdoses in 2021. The number of fatal fentanyl overdoses increased by 22% from 2020 to 2021.

“Some of the solutions we are advocating for is education in schools,” added Link. “We are advocating for Narcan distribution, and we are advocating for tougher sentences.”

Diacont wants everyone to know that one pill can kill.

“It’s like playing Russian roulette; you might take one pill one day and be sick and be fine, but the next one could kill you,” said Diacont.

Looking at her baby’s picture on the billboard fills her with mixed emotions. But she says she will never stop fighting.

“It’s hard but I think Jacob needs to be remembered for the person he was,” explained Diacont. “And I will make sure that that happens.”