A mother of two sons killed by fentanyl gave emotional testimony Tuesday at the House Homeland Security hearing on the border crisis.
Rebecca Kiessling lost her two sons, 20-year-old Caleb and 18-year-old Kyler, to fentanyl poisoning on July 29, 2020, after the boys ingested a “fake Percocet” in a hotel room. She is one of three people to testify in front of the Border Security and Enforcement Subcommittee investigating the ongoing crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border, the entry point for most of the country’s fentanyl.
Lorenzo Brabo, the drug dealer Kiessling brothers’ drug dealer, was sentenced eight to fifteen years for killing the two boys and their friend, 17-year-old Sophia Harris, after pleading guilty to a lesser charge of involuntary manslaughter. Brabo overdosed on the drug in the same hotel room as the three others, but survived.
“I didn’t know what fentanyl was, I didn’t know what Narcan was,” Kiessling told the committee, using the brand name for the anti-overdose medication naloxone. “I had heard of the opioid epidemic. I thought, people are getting prescription drugs, and getting addicted and then getting it on the streets and that it affects their further ability to work. I didn’t know that people were dying. I didn’t know that my boys were taking anything that could kill them. They didn’t think that they were either. They thought that they were safe with pills … but the government knew. The government has known for years.”
Fentanyl is a synthetic drug that is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin and is the leading source of drug deaths in the nation, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (RELATED: Authorities Seize $20 Million In Fentanyl Disguised As Prescription Drugs From Notorious Cartel)
Kiessling emotionally testified that the federal government has continued to ignore the fentanyl and opioid crises at the border as up to 100,000 Americans die from the drugs every year. She said the government is “welcoming” fentanyl as it pours across the border and allowing American children to be “taken away” from their parents.
“If we had Chinese troops lining up along our southern border with weapons aimed at our people, with weapons of mass destruction aimed at our cities, you damn well know you would do something about it,” Kiessling testified. “We have a weather balloon from China going across our country. Nobody died, and everybody’s freaking out about it. But 100,000 die every year, and nothing’s being done. Not enough is being done, numbers are going up, not down, and you talk about children being taken away from their parents.”
“My children were taken away from me,” she continued, her voice breaking as it rose. “100,000 Americans every year are having their children — 200,000, because it’s both parents, right? — are having their children taken away from them. This should not be politicized, it’s not about race. Fentanyl doesn’t care about race.”
The grieving mother then read two pieces that her children wrote shortly before their death which listed their goals, including to stay away from drugs and alcohol and graduate school.