Rachel had life in the palm of her hand.  She was a high school junior with tons of friends, varsity and travel volleyball star, held a part-time job and was known for her caring heart. 

A friend was struggling with an illegal drug addition. Rachel reached out and tried to help him. They became closer friends in her efforts to get him help. Something went awry and she tried the heroin (which as we know now) that he was pushing. 

The pivotal point:

The first time Rachel experienced heroin, it changed her forever. She craved the drug and could not get beyond the desire.

Her parents, Cindy and Russ, tried to get her professional help. Unfamiliar with the depth of her struggle, it became a challenge to understand what type of help was needed. Due to her age (under 18) and the overwhelming demand for drug addiction services, help came too late. 

A month prior to the fatal accident, Rachel had overdosed and was saved in the Children's Hospital emergency room. However, she was sent home and her parents received a four-page document outlining possible rehabilitation and counseling resources.

Phone number after phone number was called without anyone able to help. Finally, a solution was identified but it came too late.

The day before the agency returned Cindy's call, Rachel was connected to a dealer through social media. She was seeking cocaine which unknowingly was laced with carfentanil, a deadly synthetic drug used to 'amp-up' the effectiveness for a more intense high.

Cindy noticed Rachel's bedroom light was on much later than it should be for a school night. When Cindy entered, she rushed to hold Rachel. Rachel took one last breath in Cindy's arms. Paramedics were called immediately but all attempts were unsuccessful.

Rachel's story is not over. She lives through the Rachel's Angels organization and will impact other children's choices when confronted with drug experimentation.

A Parent's Plea from Rachel's Angels
Rachel's Angels team along with Cindy Demaio, president of Rachel's Angels