This photograph contains a collage of fentanyl poisoning victims.
MN Faces of Fentanyl Loved Ones Lost

In Minnesota, a crisis unfolds that resonates far beyond its borders. The fentanyl epidemic, a shadowy foe, has brought together a chorus of heartbroken voices, each echoing through shattered lives. “MN Faces of Fentanyl” is more than a campaign; it’s a stark reflection of the devastating impact on families and communities, a mirror to the futures stolen by this merciless epidemic.

Heartstrings Torn and Woven into Stories

At the forefront of this crisis stand Minnesotans like Bridgette Norring from Hastings, forever haunted by the counterfeit pill laced with fentanyl that claimed her son, Devon. Her tear-streaked face, etched with unimaginable pain, joins Michele Hein of Lindstrom in a tapestry of personal loss that pierces through the cold data. Michele, who lost her son Tyler to a counterfeit pill fentanyl poisoning, chairs the Fentanyl Free Communities Foundation (FFCF), a beacon of hope and action in this dire fight.

Voices Ringing from the Capitol’s Heart

The “One Pill Can Kill” campaign, championed by advocates like Michele, resonated through the halls of the Minnesota State Capitol, uniting advocates, law enforcement, and lawmakers in shared grief. Each speaker at the “MN Faces of Fentanyl” press conference transformed statistics into stories of resilience and a desperate plea for change.

A Legislative Battlefield: Fighting for Lives, Not Just Laws

Minnesota has witnessed a fierce legislative battle in response to the tidal wave of fentanyl-related deaths. Champions like State Representative Dave Baker, who lost his son to fentanyl, and State Senator Kelly Morrison lead the charge for stricter fentanyl charges and accessible Narcan in schools. They aim to turn settlement funds from opioid lawsuits into weapons against this insidious enemy.

Large crowd of activists holding signs about the fentanyl crisis at the Minnesota state capitol
Activism for change in fentanyl policies to save lives in Minnesota capitol

Faces Displayed, Hope Not Dimmed

At the Capitol, portraits of fentanyl victims – young adults, parents, activist – gazed silently, their faces a poignant testament to the crisis’s indiscriminate reach. These diverse faces represent the epidemic’s insidious grip on Minnesota, transcending demographics and weaving through all communities.

Law Enforcement and Prevention: A Multi-Pronged Defense

Dakota County Sheriff Joe Leko calls for a multi-pronged defense: education, prevention, rehabilitation, and unwavering law enforcement to stem the tide of fentanyl. He emphasizes the need for a comprehensive strategy that tackles both demand and supply.

A Chorus of Action Rising in Unison

The stories, faces, and unwavering resolve form a symphony of action. From calls for naloxone in schools to revised drug possession laws, a unified chorus demands bold steps from the state. Governor Tim Walz’s budget proposal and federal actions reflect the growing recognition of this crisis.

Remembering Faces, Fighting for Futures

“MN Faces of Fentanyl” is a movement born from the ashes of loss, fueled by an unyielding hope for a future where no parent buries a child, no community grieves in silence, and no face is lost to fentanyl. As Minnesota confronts this epidemic, let the memories of the fallen be our guiding light, their stories our battle cry, and their faces a constant reminder that the fight for change must continue, one action, one life, one face at a time.

Michele Hein: A Mother’s Journey to Advocacy

Michele Hein’s journey to becoming the chair of the Fentanyl Free Communities Foundation began with the most unimaginable pain – losing her 23-1/2-year-old son, Tyler, to fentanyl poisoning. Her story is a testament to determination of a mother turned advocate, fighting tirelessly to raise awareness and educate about the dangers of illicit fentanyl.

The Road to FFCF

The road to establishing FFCF and FFC its sister policy board was not smooth, but Michele’s resolve never wavered. The organization, which received its 501(3)(c) designation recently, aims to eradicate fentanyl from Minnesota through education, awareness, law enforcement support, and policy change. Michele’s efforts, alongside a dedicated board of directors, focus on getting law enforcement the resources they need and targeting youth with life-saving messages.

Gratitude and Acknowledgment

Michele extends her heartfelt thanks to a network of supporters, including her family, fellow advocates, and lawmakers. Representative Dave Baker, Colleen Ronnei, Alicia House, and many others have been instrumental in her journey. Their collective efforts underscore the importance of community and collaboration in addressing this crisis.

A Call to Action

As the opioid epidemic continues to ravage communities, Michele’s story and the “MN Faces of Fentanyl” campaign serve as a powerful call to action. The need for comprehensive measures, including increased access to naloxone and revised sentencing guidelines for fentanyl possession, has never been more urgent. The lives of countless Minnesotans depend on it.

Skip to content