Faces of fentanyl victims to be displayed on Lynchburg billboard

LYNCHBURG, Va. – A new billboard is putting faces on the fentanyl crisis.

Drivers traveling along Fifth Street in Lynchburg may notice the billboard go up in early June and stay up for about a month.

“Victims actually pay to have their loved ones photo on a billboard in hopes of saving someone else’s life,” Sarah Link, an advocate for fentanyl awareness, said.

The billboards by “Rachel’s Angels” are popping up all around the country.

“I lost somebody that I loved very much due to fentanyl in 2017 here in Virginia,” Link said.

As Link’s been collecting pictures for the project, she’s been overwhelmed by a response from dozens.

“I was a little surprised that I got that many responses from right here in Lynchburg,” Link said. “I wasn’t aware that there were that many families right here affected by this.”

The Virginia Department of Health reports that almost 79% of drug overdose deaths are due to fentanyl, claiming an average of five lives a day in the Commonwealth.

Horizon Behavioral Health said Lynchburg struggles like the rest of the state. The group serves as a resource for helping people fighting addiction recover.

“We have an admissions department that is here and waiting for those individuals that just want to come in and decide today is the day that they’re ready to seek out the help that they need,” Januwaa Davis, program manager of prevention services with Horizon Behavioral Health said.

Fentanyl Awareness Day is observed in May. Virginia Moms plan to hold an awareness event on May 4 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Miller Park.

About the Author

Amy Cockerham joined the 10 News team in January 2023.

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