A grieving Frederick Co. mother diagnosed with ‘broken heart syndrome’ after her daughter died from fentanyl overdose

22-year-old Victoria Laster died from a fentanyl overdose in March of 2022. (Courtesy of Faith Laster)

A Frederick County, Maryland, mother says after her 22-year-old daughter died from a fentanyl overdose in March of 2022, she was diagnosed with “broken heart syndrome.”

“It ends up destroying your arteries,” said Victoria Laster’s mom, Faith. “Because you’re so stressed, the stress level is what causes the broken heart syndrome. And I ended up having a triple bypass because of it. I was in the hospital for over a month.”

But Faith said she wasn’t the only one that was impacted by Victoria’s death. She said this loss shook her entire family.

This weekend, Faith is hosting a vigil in Victoria’s honor and wants people to understand the broader impact this deadly drug has on families.

A family friend also started a petition calling for harsher penalties for dealers of fentanyl, especially repeat offenders.

“We believe that stricter penalties for fentanyl dealers can serve as a deterrent and help save lives,” wrote a friend of Faith’s in the petition. “By increasing the minimum sentence for those convicted of dealing fentanyl, we can send a strong message about our society’s stance against this lethal substance.”

In Maryland, a bill was proposed last week that would adopt tougher laws on fentanyl sales in the state. Senate Bill 1075 and House Bill 1245 specify that the law would apply whether the drug is mixed or combined with any other compound after the sale of the drug. The bill also includes language that states that if the drug is transferred to more than one person, “each person who distributed or delivered the substance is considered to have violated the bill’s prohibition.”

“I’ve got 49 signatures,” said Laster. “I’m trying to do something, because I promised her before they shut the casket, that I would make sure that I fought for her, the justice that she deserves. I just don’t think it’s fair that all these dealers are being put in jail, and then they’re getting a smack on the hand, and they’re repeat offenders.”

Get breaking news and daily headlines delivered to your email inbox by signing up here.

© 2024 WTOP. All Rights Reserved. This website is not intended for users located within the European Economic Area.

Cheyenne Corin

Cheyenne Corin joined the WTOP News team in February 2023. Prior to this role she was a Montgomery County, Maryland, bureau reporter at WDVM/DC News Now.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up