After a wave of teen fentanyl overdoses, a Texas community grapples with shock and anger at the epidemic’s toll

A rash of overdoses has brought shock and anger to families in Carrollton and become a sobering reminder of how rampantly fentanyl has made its way to young people in recent years.

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The night before Jose Alberto Perez overdosed on fentanyl, the 14-year-old pleaded with his mother not to take him to the hospital because “he was not a drug addict.”

“His lips were ash white. His pupils were popping out,” the boy’s mother, Lilia Astudillo, said. But she yielded to his wishes, despite his obvious distress.

Astudillo planned to get her son medical attention the next day, but by morning he was dead.

“It hurts you to see your son after he’s gone and ask yourself, Why didn’t I know about this sooner to help him?”

Jose, who died in January, is among the nearly one dozen students spread across three schools in the Carrollton-Farmers Branch Independent School District in Texas who have overdosed on fentanyl from September to March. He is one of three who have died.

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