Houston-area mother hoping to spread awareness in schools after son dies from fentanyl

A Houston-area mother is on a mission to spread awareness about the dangers of fentanyl after losing her son to the dangerous drug in 2021.

"This is something that’s hitting home to everybody," said Elizabeth Dillender. "You don’t have to be a drug user to be exposed to fentanyl poisoning."

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According to CDC data, drug overdose is now the leading cause of death for Americans between 18-45 years-old. In 2021, more than 100,000 people died from overdosing on drugs. Officials attribute a majority of those deaths to fentanyl.

"Until it hits homes, or until it happens to you or your friend, we all as human beings have this it’s never going to happen to me mindset," said Dillender. "Unfortunately, fentanyl is pouring over here. We have to be able to educate our kids."

Dillender says her son, Kade Webb, purchased a pill from a drug dealer in December 2021 thinking it was Percocet. At the time, Webb had been working at a ski resort in Lake Tahoe. He and his girlfriend were expecting a baby girl to be born in January. However, the counterfeit Percocet pill Webb purchased was spiked with a lethal dose of fentanyl. Shortly after taking the pill, Webb died at the age of 20.

"He was a lover," said Dillender. "He had big goals and big dreams."

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Since Webb’s death, Dillender has been on a mission to spread awareness about the dangers of fentanyl. Alongside her nephew and Webb’s cousin, San Francisco Giants Pitcher Logan Webb, they’ve shared Kade’s story to more than 26,000 students at schools in California.

"There’s a lot of kids that aren’t aware of the dangers and how to look for an overdose, or how to save their friend," said Dillender.

Recently, the motivated mother moved back home to Southeast Texas in hopes of spreading awareness about fentanyl in Houston-area schools. Dillender says she has reached out to local schools and districts in Montgomery County, hoping to begin school assemblies soon. She says her main message is that one pill can kill.

"The only way to save a teenager, or a young adult’s life, is by education and advocacy," said Dillender. "[Along with] having access to Narcan."