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Mother brings awareness to opioid deaths with roadside pinwheel memorial in Va. Beach

Virginia Beach

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — Purple pinwheels with purpose have been planted in the ground near Mount Trashmore.

Each one stands for a person who has died locally at the hands of opioids.

“In Hampton Roads we lost about 300 of our folks just last year,” said Carolyn Weems, who lost a child due to an opioid overdose.

So this cause hits home for Weems.

“Most people know that we lost our daughter Caitlyn in 2013. She had gotten addicted to pain killers after a back injury and ended up dying from an overdose,” said Weems.

In the middle of the pinwheels, there’s a sign that breaks down the number of opioid-related deaths in the U.S., the state and locally in the past year.

Weems says the symbolic pinwheels were planted specifically for International Overdose Awareness Day on Aug. 31, but next year she would like to see all cities in Hampton Roads have the pinwheels up for the whole month of August.

A local mother set up a roadside pinwheel memorial for International Overdose Awareness Day on Aug. 31 in Va. Beach. WAVY Photo

She also wants to see more education, outreach and treatment options for those addicted to opioids.

“We need business leaders and city folks and politicians to back their words up. We’re tired of the talk these people need help,” Weems said.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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