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Memorial held for California man killed in fentanyl overdose at Nocturnal Wonderland music festival


A memorial service was held in Montebello on Saturday, remembering a man who died after overdosing on fentanyl-laced drugs at a San Bernardino music festival on Sept. 17.

27-year-old Eli Rodriguez was one of two deaths reported during the Nocturnal Wonderland Music Festival. The four-day electronic dance event ran from Sept. 16 to Sept.19 at the Glen Helen Amphitheater.

Eli’s mother, Marcy Rodriguez, is now dedicating her life to becoming an anti-drug activist as she bids her final goodbye to her son on Saturday.

“I’ve been like any mom whose had to bury their son or daughter or child — it’s hard, very hard and you bear the pain,” said Marcy. “There’s nothing I can do. I can’t bring him back.”

Marcy now aims to spread awareness of the dangers of fentanyl and hopes the story of her son’s death can help save other lives.

Eli Rodriguez, 27, died after a fentanyl overdose at the Nocturnal Wonderland Music Festival in San Bernardino on Sept. 17, 2022.
Eli Rodriguez, 27, died after a fentanyl overdose at the Nocturnal Wonderland Music Festival in San Bernardino on Sept. 17, 2022. (Marcy Rodriguez)

“The dangers of drugs, it’s a war,” said Marcy. “As I see it, it’s a demonic war and it’s targeting our children. These places [music festivals] are designed for drugs and it’s not right. They’re making billions of dollars off of our children dying. I didn’t expect my son to come out of there in a gurney, but he did.”

Fentanyl-laced pills have seen a troubling surge in the U.S. as the drug is typically mixed with other narcotics or produced as counterfeit pills.

Fentanyl can be 50 times more potent than heroin, and even a tiny amount can be lethal, according to the United States Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Experts say fake prescription pills are especially dangerous because it’s difficult to tell how strong they are.

While heartbroken, Marcy hopes to continue fighting to spread awareness of the dangers of fentanyl.

“I will miss Eli forever. I will always love him,” said Marcy. “He was caring and loving and he’s been a pillar within me. He’s given me strength to stand, to speak and to continue to live.”



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