CHICAGO — One pill can kill. That was the message for some high school students on Chicago’s Far Southwest Side Tuesday in the effort to raise awareness about the dangers of fentanyl.

Community members shared stories with students at Brother Rice High School as part of Fentanyl Awareness Day.

To share their stories.

Kim Novak was among them. Eight years since the death of her daughter to fentanyl poisoning, Novak’s work to prevent other deaths continues.

“This is killing too many of our children,” she said. “And it doesn’t just kill a child that died, it kills the spirit of their siblings, their parent, their family members … it doesn’t affect just one person.”

John LaGigila, a Chicago firefighter paramedic, also spoke to the students. He is with the Patrick William Roche Foundation and sees the impact of the fentanyl crisis every day.

“It’s horrific. It’s horrific,” she said. “We do everything we can. Sometimes there’s nothing we can do, it’s too late.”

LaGigila’ s best friend, Pat Roche, died from an overdose four years ago.

“(We were) raised in our same neighborhood and it doesn’t matter who you are, where you come from, if you get involved in it and it just your latches on to you,” he said.

The most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control show a dramatic rise in fentanyl-related deaths. 

Of the more 107,000 Americans who died by drug overdose in a 12-month period, 67 percent involved synthetic opioids like fentanyl.

“If we can save just one kid and one family from this heartbreak, that’s what it’s about,” Novak said.