Increase in heroin overdoses prompts Virginia Beach to take action

Posted at 5:12 PM, Dec 02, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-02 17:12:28-05

 Virginia Beach, Va. - Some residents in the City of Virginia Beach are taking action against the horrors of heroin addiction.

The awful problem is impacting more families in our area than ever before.

Carolyn Weems is raising her 4 year-old granddaughter Brylan after the death of her daughter, Caitlin.

Caitlyn died in April 2013 at the age of 21 from a heroin overdose.

"I never ever thought in one million years that my children would die from drugs. It's just horrible, you can't imagine it," said Carolyn Weems.

The statistics are just as horrible.

Leaders from the Attorney General of Virginia's Office told NewsChannel 3 that for the first time ever, the number of people dying from heroin and prescription drugs is higher than the number of people dying in traffic accidents.

Below is information from the AG's Office:

"In 2014, there were 700 traffic fatalities and 729 Virginians died from heroin/prescription opiod overdose.  The last 5 years' deaths from heroin and prescription drug overdose are:

2010: 446

2011: 582

2012: 541

2013: 660

2014: 729

2015 (projected): 758

Heroin deaths specifically have risen 387% from 49 in 2010 to 239 in 2014."

The Virginia Attorney General created a documentary on the issue because of the high numbers.

The documentary will be shown in Virginia Beach Thursday evening at around 7:00 p.m. at the Virginia Beach Convention Center.

The Protecting Children Foundation, a group that works to keep kids safe in Virginia Beach, will set up 35 tables at the convention center with resources about addiction and rehabilitation along with information from police and doctors from 6:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.

The president of Protecting Children Foundation Thomas Bates has donated a lot of time and money to the event.

The event is called Dead Serious: The Street Drug That's in Your Medicine Cabinet.

Weems is the Vice President of the Protecting Children Foundation and was the main organizer of the event.

She said, "It is event should be so informative and should be a great resource for folks."

Carolyn and her 19-year-old daughter Connelly will also be part of a panel, sharing their own tragedy.

Connelly Weems said, "I try to look at it like Caitlyn is helping us to change the world."

They are hoping that fewer families will have to deal with the pain of addiction.

If you are interested in attending you can find more information about the event at this website.