Fentanyl Poisoning Awareness: Max "Leno" Lenowitz

Hello dear friends,

This is so incredibly hard for me to do…write about my precious son who died. That's probably why it's taken me 10 months to do it.

My name is Patrice Lenowitz, and I am asking for your kind generosity to support a campaign that aims to accomplish two goals:

1. Raise Fentanyl Poisoning Awareness through legislation & education.

2. Support our youth with tools to help them manage trauma, anxiety & depression, so street drugs will NEVER be something they seek to alleviate their pain.

Here's our story:

On July 14th 2022, our lives changed forever.

My firstborn son, Max Andrew Lenowitz, left his beautiful, perfect, earthly body. It was his 25th birthday. He died of fentanyl poisoning. He was found with Xanax. Prescription Xanax is used to treat anxiety and panic disorders. Only this was not prescribed by a doctor. We don't know where he got it from. But the Xanax was identified as counterfeit and contained a lethal dose of fentanyl.

Born at Holy Name Hospital in Teaneck, N.J. and named after my super smart childhood cat (no joke), Max began walking, and then running, at 9 months old. Just like the cat he was named after, there wasn’t a roof Max wouldn’t climb, a ball he wouldn’t dominate, or mischief he could pass up. Ever.

A Montessori House & Village School kid from preschool through 5th grade, Max thrived in that type of learning environment.

From a very early age, Max had an abundance of energy and a zest for creating new adventures. In Old Tappan, he would ride all day with his best friend on a bike or skateboard, climb the tippy top of a jungle gym or tree, or spend all-day swimming and doing flips in the pool. Much to his little brother’s chagrin, Max loved physical contact too, and thus, he earned his Tae Kwon Do Blackbelt at 11 years old.

We moved to Woodcliff Lake N.J. in his middle school years. Max being Max, made new friends at Dorchester effortlessly.

When entering high school at Pascack Hills in Montvale, Max conveyed an unmistakable confidence on the outside and carried a big sensitive heart on the inside. Succeeding at varsity lacrosse and receiving a Senate & General Assembly commendation and praise citation for his athletic abilities, this cool cat also required endless affection, attention and snuggles from his Momma. And this Momma ate up every second of it.

Max was a great writer too. He loved to read and had a great imagination. He scored a 32 in writing on his ACT—and that was without any significant effort, I can assure you. In high school, lacrosse and his social life came first.

Max's friend circle was vast and deep. And he had the absolute best friends too. His loyal "brothers" as he called them, and his loving "sister" girlfriends he adored. He was loved and blessed. And they were loved and blessed by him too.

Max is the oldest of 3, and couldn't have been prouder of his brother Zac and his sister Elena. To Max, they were perfect and could do no wrong.

He went on to study and play lacrosse at Whittier College in California. One of the main reasons he chose to go to school so far away is that he craved adventure and needed to be near a beach. Nature, sunrises and sunsets, and being near the ocean were his absolute favorites.

Max could push my buttons for sure, but he always made up for it with love and a deeper more profound connection between us. I called him my gift from God, and I meant it. When I was diagnosed with stage 3 colon cancer in 2021, Max came home every three weeks to be with me following my chemotherapy treatments. I would plead with him, "Max, please don't come home when I get my chemo. I'm so sick and weak when I leave the hospital, and can't move from my bed." And he replied, "So I will lie in bed with you Momma." And he did. This went on for 6 months. Forget the chemo, Max was my medicine.

I loved how he emphasized learning something new to maximize his human experience. He deeply appreciated art, movies, music, travel, kids, and all animals, especially our German Shepherd, Kiki. What a great & wise soul he had--an experiential learner. His stepdad & I called him a sage. It's true.

One of his best friends sat with me the other day and called him a giver and a light. He said he had a beautiful warm soul, he was a great listener and loving friend, and his genuine smile & laughter made it impossible not to reciprocate.


Like so many other families suffering the loss of a loved one due to fentanyl poisoning in New Jersey and across the U.S., I knew we had to do something about this epidemic. And I believe Max is giving me the courage to do so.

With your help, we will accomplish these goals together:

1. Raise Fentanyl Poisoning Awareness through legislation & education.

2. Support our youth with tools to help them manage trauma, anxiety & depression, so street drugs will NEVER be something they seek to alleviate their pain.

And we just got the ball rolling.

Senator Holly Schepisi and her amazing staff have kindly introduced bill SJR128 to honor Max’s life by declaring his birthday, July 14th, Fentanyl Poisoning Awareness Day in the state of New Jersey. It is co-sponsored by Senator Troy Singleton, Senator Christopher Conners, and Senator Renee Burgess. We are so grateful.

Friends, any donation you make in Max’s honor, and all those lives we hope to protect, will go a long way in love and deed.

We are in this together. My family and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts.

With love,

-Patrice Lenowitz
AKA Max's Mom -- #Forever25

Donations (251)

  • Janice Shepps
    • $100 
    • 13 d
  • Ingrid Skirka
    • $10 
    • 13 d
  • Francis C Forte
    • $20 
    • 13 d
  • Alfred Clark
    • $500 
    • 13 d
  • Erika Blume
    • $100 
    • 2 mos


Patrice Lenowitz
Woodcliff Lake, NJ

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