Signs and posters were waved on the corner of Lakewood Blvd and Firestone Blvd in raising awareness to a drug that killed a Downey resident’s son in April. Photo credit: Clarissa Arceo
Signs and posters were waved on the corner of Lakewood Blvd and Firestone Blvd in raising awareness to a drug that killed a Downey resident’s son in April. Photo credit: Clarissa Arceo

Downey dad rallies for son who overdosed on fentanyl

May 8, 2022

A Downey family held a rally on the corner of Lakewood Blvd and Firestone Blvd on May 7 to bring awareness to Fentanyl, a drug that killed one of their family members in April.

About 10 family members and friends stood in front of the Citi Bank, 8764 Firestone Blvd, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, waving signs with information reading about the drug that killed their loved one.

Family members, friends and close ones continue to raise awareness for drug abuse after grieving the tragic death of one of their family members in April.
Family members, friends and close ones continue to raise awareness for drug abuse after grieving the tragic death of one of their family members in April. Photo credit: Clarissa Arceo

Former Downey High School student Andy Dally Chavez, who graduated in 2020, died from a fentanyl overdose on April 20 during his stay at a sober living home.

His father, Andy Chavez, said that he [his son] struggled with fentanyl addiction throughout his teenage years and had finally sought help through a rehabilitation center.

“He became addicted to fentanyl at 18 and when he began his recovery I knew I wanted to be there for him through it.” his father said, “He was a great kid, smart- one of the nicest kids ever.”

Andy Chavez (left), father of Chavez and his uncle (right) holding signs in front of the Credit Union bank to raise awareness on fentanyl.
Andy Chavez (left), father of Chavez and his uncle (right) holding signs in front of the Credit Union bank to raise awareness on fentanyl. Photo credit: Clarissa Arceo

Chavez [father] said that he and his son had planned to host a rally in light of raising awareness for the drug but never did in fear of judgement. He said that he decided to host it, now, without fear and in honor of his son’s unfortunate death.

“Fentanyl is a man-made synthetic drug that is very strong, and some of it the size of about a grain of sugar can kill you,” Chavez said. “There’s actually other drugs coming out that are spinning off from fentanyl, and they’re even stronger and getting people even more addicted.”

“We need to be aware of these drugs killing our children and advocate for law changes because, currently, there are none protecting those from possible lacing.” Chavez added.

He later said that his son was living in a sober living home when he passed, where recovering addicts typically stay after finishing their time in a rehabilitation center. He said that they think the overdose may have been caused from potential lacing in the drug.

The majority of supporters waving signs on Saturday were Chavez's family members.
The majority of supporters waving signs on Saturday were Chavez’s family members. Photo credit: Clarissa Arceo

Erica Chavez, Chavez’s sister, said that her nephew [Andy] was 80 days clean leading up to his death.

“It’s a sign for us- for parents to be more aware of what’s going on with our kids,” Erica said. “Even if they aren’t involved with drugs, we need to pay more attention to them.”

The family later added that the sober living home covers up many of the overdoses and drug handling that occur in their facility despite being a place for sober addicts and that they had no clue of Andy’s relapse until his death.

Narcan is a prescription medicine used to treat drug overdose in the case of an emergency. Chavez shared that the treatment was not enough to save his son the night of his death.
Narcan is a prescription medicine used to treat drug overdose in the case of an emergency. Chavez shared that the treatment was not enough to save his son the night of his death. Photo credit: Clarissa Arceo

Brenda Chavez, a family member, said that she hopes local parents will use Andy’s situation to take the step of sparking a conversation with their child(ren) and talk to them about the risk of drug intake.

“It’s one conversation that can change everything,” Brenda said. “Instead of being angry or seeking blame in the case that they do get involved in drugs, we need to try to be there for them, they can’t do these kinds of things [recovery] on their own.”

As people passed by their rally on the corner, the family would inform them on fentanyl, its effects on users and encourage them to help others get the help they need.

One bypasser shared her story with the family in regards to her relationship with fentanyl; She said that she had a family member who now suffers from being paralyzed and comatose after an overdose.

Andy Chavez was 19-years-old when he overdosed on fentanyl on April 20. He was a graduate from Downey High School with the class of 2020. Courtesy of: Chavez Family
Andy Chavez was 19-years-old when he overdosed on fentanyl on April 20. He was a graduate from Downey High School with the class of 2020. Courtesy of: Chavez Family Photo credit: Chavez Family

“One thing I think all families should do is keep narcan in your home or in your car because you never know,” Brenda said. “You never know when you might need it. You could potentially save a life.”

The family rallied in light of Fentanyl Awareness Day on May 10. They hope that others battling their addiction, or have a loved one who is, may seek help in their journey and raise awareness to further inform others.

View Comments (1)
About the Writer
Photo of Clarissa Arceo
Clarissa Arceo, Community Editor
Clarissa Arceo is Community Editor for Talon Marks covering community news, Life, and arts & entertainment. She is a Journalism major transferring to a 4-year university in the Fall. Aside from reporting, Arceo enjoys photographing community events, reading contemporary romance and psychological fiction novels, and taking trips to the beach.

 

Talon Marks • Copyright 2022 • FLEX WordPress Theme by SNOLog in

1

Comments (1)

All Talon Marks Picks TM Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published.

  • A

    AbbyMay 12, 2022 at 4:22 pm

    Fentanal is a horrible drug, I was put on Fentanal patches by my doctor and when I decided to get off them I was I horrific pain. The withdrawal was worse than any other medication I have ever had to withdraw from. I don’t believe enough is being done to stop the illegal sale of it.
    Also I believe if he overdosed in the sober living facility the family should sue them for negligence.
    They have obviously had this problem before and did nothing to insure the safety of recently sober people, who would be extremely vulnerable to relapses. Disgusting. I’m sorry that his family lost him just as he was getting clean. Unfortunately hundreds of people overdose every day. And YES Narcan should be free to use and keep at home or whatever.

    Reply