Local moms fight for solutions after fentanyl breakout in Austin kills nine

SAN ANTONIO – “Braden was a fun-loving 21-year-old who loved his Mustang, his family, his friends, his dog,” said his mother Nici Gole.

In 2020, her son lost his life to fentanyl, a deadly drug that has made its way into all other drugs without people knowing it.

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Gole is now what’s called an Angel Mom, a title she’d wish on no one.

She learned about the term when she found a loving community of parents just like herself.

“My daughter Danica was murdered by Fentanyl almost two years ago,” said Veronica Kaprosy, who has become vocal about her 17-year-old daughter’s death.

She called the fentanyl epidemic a weapon of mass destruction and wants the nation to rise up with a COVID-like health crisis response.

She has a lot of support.

“Almost two years ago I lost my son Cody to fentanyl poisoning,” said Kathy Drago, who sets pain aside daily to advocate for fentanyl education.

It was the shared grief that fueled these moms to pull politicians, first responders, and recovery experts into their fight to save lives.

Last Monday, everyone in those groups and agencies was gut-wrenched to hear a batch of drugs laced with fentanyl killed nine people in Austin and caused about 75 to need Narcan rescue. Those calls came in both Monday and Tuesday.

It hit too close to home and strengthened the Angel Moms’ resolve.

“Those pills could make their way in somebody’s car down to San Antonio,” Drago said. “It’s the number one cause of death for boys from the age of 14 to 50. I got to keep the narrative open.”

Drago helped organize Monday’s press conference at the San Antonio Firefighter’s Association, which included the fire department, State Rep. John Lujan, the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, and the San Antonio Council on Alcohol and Drug Awareness (SACADA).

The show of faces was to let the public know the collaborative group is already working on solutions but needs the community’s help.

It’s not just San Antonio either.

“I actually personally live in New Braunfels now. So we’re going to start advocating in the Comal County area as well. We are going to be doing a proclamation this fall for the Comal County area and partnering with all the moms and hopefully start getting going in that area as well,” Gole said.

The focus is awareness as far as they can reach.

“We want to get into every single school and share what’s going on in our community with them, so they don’t make a bad choice,” Drago said.

The Angel Moms join BCSO’s One Pill Can Kill presentations at schools across the region, and say it’s been a huge success.

“So many kids came up to us afterward and said we had no idea. We are so sorry,” Drago said.

Gole brought her own children in their 20s to participate in the presentation and talk to their peers.

“Got it up on stage with their brother’s picture beside them. And that I think probably made an impact more than the rest of us could have ever done,” Gole said.

BCSO hopes to give more of these presentations. They’re asking any group in the public no matter how big or small to reach out and request it.

“We go to schools, churches, workplaces. Please reach out,” said BCSO Communications Director Johnny Garcia.

A big part of that education is about the rescue drug Narcan. It’s a nasal spray or injection that can reverse the effects of opioid poisoning.

“The thing about Narcan is, if you give it to someone and they’re not on opioids, it does nothing to them,” Drago said.

She hopes people will keep Narcan in their purses, backpacks, and cars.

State Rep. John Lujan has been fighting alongside these moms, securing funding to put Narcan in schools and other public places.

But he said it’s still not enough.

“This next legislative session, we will be doing more, no doubt about it,” Lujan said.

He also has a message about policy for drug dealers who likely don’t know if fentanyl is in their drugs.

“They can’t play ignorant anymore. The laws are right written now that you can be charged with murder on that. And they got to take that responsibility,” he said.

With Lujan’s statewide perspective and knowledge, he said efforts being made said San Antonio are special.

“Everybody jumps on board. They want to help, and I love our community. San Antonio’s a wonderful community,” he said.

He was there when the Angel Moms’ organization Souls Walking 4 Soles put on the state’s first-ever fentanyl awareness walk, which drew massive attention.

Those wins bring Gole tiny pieces of comfort and those pieces begin to accumulate, forming hope.

“This is Braden’s thumbprint, so I always have a part of him with me,” she said pointing out her necklace.

She feels Braden’s presence in her advocacy and knows his death will never be in vain.


If you want free Narcan, you can contact two of the Angel Moms’ organizations: Soles Walking 4 Souls and Forever 17 Danica’s Foundation. You can go on their websites or contact them on social media and they will bring the Narcan to you.

You can also get the free Narcan from SACADA if you call (210) 225-4741 or head to their website.

It is also an option to go to the Be Well Texas site to get Narcan.


There are many local resources to help those with substance use disorder (addiction).

Free services provided by the San Antonio Council on Alcohol and Drug Awareness (SACADA) and Be Well Texas . Be Well offers treatment and services ALL over Texas.

Rise Recovery provides youth drug and alcohol counseling services and recovery support services. www.riserecovery.org. They also have a recovery high school, the first in San Antonio. Rise Inspire Academy https://www.riserecovery.org/about-us/our-services/rise-inspireacademy/

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) https://www.samhsa.gov/find-help

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