Vaughn Aber of Hillsboro has been working with the non-profit organization 4 Them We Fight to bring public awareness of the epidemic of fentanyl deaths to the local community and across the country.
Aber placed two billboards in Hillsboro that show people who have died from fentanyl. The organization has created and distributed banners, yard signs, flyers, and postcards around a number of communities.
The organization has posted 10 billboards in the San Bernardino, California area.
“The reason they targeted that area is because of Snapchat because a lot of these drugs are coming from there, and this crap is coming right to your house that your 12 or 13-year-old could get,” Aber said.
Twenty Billboards have also been placed by the group in Kentucky, along with one in Napoleon, Ohio. Three more are planned in Pennsylvania.
Aber’s wife, Tonya, started the non-profit after her daughter, Jessica Lynch, died from fentanyl on May 22, 2020. Lynch was prescribed oxycodone after fracturing her hip in a car accident. After the prescription ran out, she began using heroin and then methamphetamine. She was killed from methamphetamine laced with fentanyl.
Adrienne Sauter, Amanda Curtis, Marla Ayres and Kacey Johnson, who work in the organization with Tonya, have all lost family members to fentanyl. Sauter and Curtis lost their sons, Ayers lost her daughter and Johnson lost her sister.
Tonya Aber traveled to Washington D.C. this week to speak about the fentanyl epidemic with representatives from the DEA along with about 40 other drug-prevention organizations.
Currently, according to the CDC, fentanyl is the leading cause of death for adults ages 18 to 45 in the United States. In the year ending in April 2021, fentanyl claimed the lives of 40,010 Americans in that age range. The number is more than car accidents (22,442), suicides (21,678), COVID-related deaths (21,335) and cancer (17,114).
As a synthetic drug, fentanyl is cheaper to produce than drugs like heroin, which require cultivation, and because of its potency, people require far less of it to get high. In the years since 2015, drug dealers have used fentanyl as a cheap way to cut their drugs and increase profits.
Vaughn Aber said Lynch’s death was listed as an accidental overdose on her death certificate, and he disagrees with the classification.
“She had enough fentanyl to kill six people when she was wanting meth, so it should be at least classified as a poisoning or homicide,” he said.
Vaughn Aber said he wants his message to reach as many people as possible.
“These other people know people, and that’s what it’s all about,” he said. “You know somebody and they know somebody, so the more people we know, the more we are able to spread this around.”
Donations to 4 Them We Fight can be made through 4themwefight.org or by calling Kacey Johnson at 804-832-8469.
Reach John Hackley at 937-402-2571.