Symposium focuses on opioid epidemic

KENYA SMITH/INTERN
The Tidewater News
 
The Paul D. Camp nursing class of 2019 hosted its second annual opioid symposium on Thursday evening in the Regional Workforce Development Center. The event featured key speakers that shared how the opioid epidemic has affected their lives. Each person also answered questions from the audience.
 
Opioid awareness advocate and Suffolk native Michael Dail shared a personal story about how the epidemic has affected his family.
 
He said, “It doesn’t matter what a person’s racial, religious, economic, or academic background is. An opioid addict could be anyone because my daughter was one.”
 
Dail’s daughter Victoria “Tori” Dail was an athlete and a 2012 honor graduate at Nansmond-Suffolk Academy. She then attended Virginia Wesleyan College and continued to play volleyball.
 
“After she graduated from high school, Tori was involved in an automobile accident that caused a concussion,” said Dail, “She was prescribed Percocet for her pain by her doctors, and that’s how her addiction started.”
 
That eventually lead to a heroin addiction. Tori’s father didn’t know about it until he found some empty pill capsules in Tori’s room in 2014. When confronted by her father about the capsules, Tori told him that they were just vitamins, but she finally admitted that she had an addiction. She was admitted to a detox program and stayed for six days. It seemed like everything turned out for the better until Nov. 10, 2016. That was the day that he found 21-year-old Tori dead from an overdose.
 
Dail hopes that telling his daughter’s story will help erase the stigma behind opioid addiction, educate people about how the opioid epidemic can hit close to home, and raise awareness about this crisis.
 
Another speaker was Del. Emily Brewer (R-64,). She talked about the efforts being made in the Virginia legislature to help combat the opioid epidemic.
 
“The legislation I co-patroned this year, HB 1469 would help fight the opioid crisis by holding drug dealers accountable,” said Brewer, “Basically, if you sell certain drugs and someone that you sold to has a fatal overdose, you could be charged with felony homicide.”
 
Because rural areas in Virginia are struggling with the opioid crisis, the bill didn’t pass. However, another bill was introduced this year that could help fight the opioid crisis in those rural areas.
 
“I was glad for the opportunity to support SB 226, introduced by Sen. Bill Stanley, which did pass this year and will greatly help rural Virginia in fighting the opioid crisis” she added.
 
Brewer also explained that SB 226 will require veterinarians who dispense controlled substances to report certain information about the animal and its owner to the Prescription Monitoring Program.
 
Other guest speakers included recovering opioid addict H. Harvey, licensed counselor Meredith Wren and Sentara Norfolk General’s maternity clinical manager and nurse Janel Moore. After the speakers shared their stories, the nursing class presented a 14-minute documentary, “Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opiate Addict.”