18-year-old’s family in WNY aims to increase awareness about drug overdose

A grieving family is taking proactive steps to prevent future tragedies after the loss of a loved one.

Communities across the nation, including our own, are grappling with the devastating impact of opioid-related deaths.

According to recent statistics released by the Erie County Department of Health, a total of 245 individuals have lost their lives due to opioid overdoses in the county as of the end of July this year.

According to the county, cocaine is involved in approximately 80% of the cases, with fentanyl often found in the mix.

7 News were contacted by a young woman from Clarence who had lost her cousin to an accidental overdose. Her intention was to bring attention to the issue and give a voice to families who have suffered the same tragic loss.

During an interview with 7 News, Pheben Kassahun spoke with the individual about their efforts to combat drug abuse within their community.

The memory of that day will remain etched in Alexa Friedman and her family’s minds forever.

On May 6th, 2022, her cousin, Beau Miller, passed away due to an accidental overdose.

According to Alexa Friedman, her brother unknowingly purchased a pill he believed was Percocet during a night out with friends. The 18-year-old spent $25 on the pill, which turned out to be entirely made up of fentanyl. Unfortunately, no one in their family was aware of his addiction until after his passing.

Unknown to his family, the Lockport native had been battling addiction.

He faced a critical situation where he required resuscitation multiple times to survive.

Tragically, he passed away during his freshman year at SUNY Geneseo.

According to Friedman, the school did not inform her aunt about her cousin’s situation. They had expelled him from attending classes due to poor attendance, but they did not disclose the reason behind it. It was only after her cousin’s funeral that they discovered it was not an isolated incident. Friedman’s cousin had been struggling with this issue for a while, as per his friends.

Friedman aspires to assist other families who are experiencing similar situations to their own after losing their cherished Beau. Although their beloved pet cannot be brought back, they hope that by sharing their experience, they can aid others in the healing process.

A new venture named “Accidental Angels” was established by her a few months back. It is currently an LLC and has goals to transition into a 501c nonprofit organization.

The main objective is to increase awareness among teenagers and young adults about the hazardous effects of fentanyl and how they can provide assistance to someone who is experiencing an overdose.

Friedman expressed the desire to offer financial assistance for grief counseling to families and friends. The aim is to extend support for funeral expenses and foster a sense of community among families who are experiencing a similar kind of pain, where they can rely on each other for emotional support.

Beau’s Bill is also a top priority for her, and she has already reached out to several Western New York lawmakers about it. She is determined to see this bill come to fruition and is actively working to make it a reality.

Universities and colleges will be required to send emergency contact forms with students, according to recent developments.

Friedman believes that emergency contact forms are crucial for schools to have on file. She shared that her aunt would have signed one immediately if she had known about it. To ensure that all schools send these forms home along with other important paperwork, Friedman proposes the implementation of Beau’s Bill. However, HIPPA laws present a challenge in regards to privacy. Therefore, Friedman suggests that the form include the option for parents to either sign for an emergency contact form or decline it.

If he were still alive, the Lockport native would have celebrated his 20th birthday on Sunday.

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