Virginia Beach school board member shares painful memories of daughter’s overdose

Posted at 7:38 PM, Jul 08, 2015
and last updated 2015-07-08 19:38:28-04

Virginia Beach, Va. - Alarming new statistics show the heroin epidemic is growing.

A new report from the CDC and FDA show a dramatic increase in heroin use and deaths particularly in women, people with private insurance and higher incomes.

Deaths nearly doubled across the United States between 2011 and 2013 - claiming about 120 lives each day, according to the CDC.

Carolyn Weems knows all too well the pain of losing a child to a heroin overdose.

Her daughter Caitlyn died April 2013. "The sweetest girl, attractive, athletic, funny, kind hearted, but got into prescription drugs," said Weems.

It`s a tragic story more and more parents like Weems are telling. She said her daughter suffered from a back problem and then had a soccer injury. She said 3 teeth were knocked out and she was forced to have 9 root canals.

Caitlyn's doctor wrote her a prescription for painkillers.

"We were kind of naive and thought that if a doctor was prescribing it, it would be somewhat safe," said Weems.

But like many addicts, prescription drug abuse took the young woman down a dark road.

"She called and said, 'I need help. I tried heroin,'" said Weems.

Caitlyn went to rehab, she got pregnant and stayed clean for 15 months, but the lure of the drug brought her back.

In April 2013, her mom got the devastating call. The 21-year-old was found dead.

"We have really strong faith, but it has really knocked the wind out of us," said Weems, "Every day you think about it. All day long. Everything triggers it. You rehash what you should have done, what you didn`t do, what you could have done."

The Virginia Beach school board member now works to combat the growing heroin problem in our community in an effort to save more lives all while grieving the loss of her daughter. It's a pain no parent should be forced to endure.