Patricia Drews is on a mission – it’s a mission that won’t bring her daughter back, but she is determined to try to help other families learn more about what she calls drug-induced homicide that took the life of her only child.
Her daughter, Heaven, died in 2019 – one of approximately 200 young people dying each day back then in the U.S. from opioids. That figure has doubled to about 400 a day as the opioid epidemic rages. The NC DHHS reported Monday that an average of nine North Carolinians died each day in 2020 as a result of a drug overdose – a 40 percent increase from the previous year.
Drews has written and published a book titled Death of America’s Future: China’s Fentanyl that she said should be available for purchase by the end of the week. It is a compilation of more than 80 accounts – including the tragic story of her daughter Heaven – of families that have lost loved ones to fentanyl poisoning.
“I wanted a mother’s perspective,” she told John C. Rose on Tuesday’s Town Talk, “of losing a child.” The first 50 copies of the book, which she paid for herself, should be available this week on Amazon. It was expensive endeavor, Drews noted, but if the book sales do make a profit, she wants to donate the proceeds to several different organizations, including Lost Voices of Fentanyl, a national organization with more than 10,000 members.
The book contains a color photograph of every mother and child, which was important to Drews so she could show families as they had once been – “that they lived, they loved, they laughed,” she said.
Drews said 104,000 young people in the United States died from drugs, and the numbers just keep climbing, she said.
Drews draws a clear distinction between a drug overdose versus the lethal opioid poisoning responsible for the deaths of so many young people. “Yes, they made a choice to experiment,” she said, “but they did not choose to die. The drug dealer that sold them that fentanyl made that choice for them.”
Raising awareness is critical to keeping young people safe – “we need to educate ourselves and we need to educate our children,” Drews said.
In December 2019, North Carolina enacted a law that allows prosecutors to charge drug dealers who illegally sell a controlled substance that causes someone’s death. The “death by distribution” act carries a penalty of up to 40 years in prison.
Her daughter’s case remains active, she said. “I refuse to let it go – they need to be held accountable.” Her daughter died in January 2019, just months before the new law went into effect that December.
“But there’s no statute of limitations on homicide,” she said.
To learn more about how to purchase a copy of the book, visit the local Forgotten Victims page on Facebook or contact Drews directly at 252. 204.9611.