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  • Writer's pictureAnthony Alvarado

Reflections on a Lost Opportunity: A Father's Plea for Change

Updated: May 23, 2023

Gavyn, my beloved son, should have been entering his senior year, filled with anticipation and the promise of a high school graduation. Instead, our lives have been shattered, leaving us to pick up the pieces. It's impossible to express the magnitude of our loss.

The toxicology report points to fentanyl as the cause of Gavyn's accidental overdose, but as a father, I understand the complexity of this tragedy. It's not just about the drug but possibly more about the deep-rooted issues that led to this outcome. Family trauma, adverse childhood experiences, addiction cycles, mental illness, societal pressures, peer influence, isolation, and systemic problems have all played a part. While we must acknowledge the responsibility of those who perpetuate the opiate crisis, we must also accept our individual responsibility in preventing addiction and unintentional consumption of dangerous substances like fentanyl.

As a new school year begins, my heart goes out to families enduring similar pain. I think of parents who, like me, are lost for words, desperately seeking healing. I think of the students, friends, and everyone connected to Gavyn, wondering how to navigate this year without him.

Amidst this sorrow, I find glimmers of hope. I see the potential for beauty and growth ahead. But I'm torn between the reality of our loss and the bittersweet possibilities of what could have been.

Where do we go from here?

2020 has been a challenging year for many. While I don't know what lies ahead for me personally, I believe in a future beyond this pain. It won't be easy, but I have faith in our resilience. Now is the time to raise our voices, share our stories, and drive radical change.

Together, we can make a lasting impact that supports our families and future generations. I call upon eloquent speakers, talented writers, creative minds, social justice warriors, advocates, students, teachers, parents, families, and friends.

Let us contribute to something greater. Let this year be the catalyst for profound transformation. If you can't find motivation for personal growth, let the plight of others, especially youth like Gavyn, ignite a fire within you. Let's strive for a world where equal opportunities abound, and our communities flourish despite adversity.

With love,


P.S. I miss seeing Gavyn meticulously choosing his first-day-of-school outfit, especially his excitement over new shoes. Although he's watching over us with a radiant smile, the ache in my heart remains.

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