VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A Virginia Beach woman says we’ve raised awareness about the opioid crisis — but now is the time for action. Carolyn Weems lost her daughter to an overdose six years ago.
“I will not accept no.”
Weems knows how and when to be pushy. She lost her daughter Caitlyn to a heroin overdose six years ago when she was 21.
Caitlyn’s addiction began several years before with prescription opioids for sports injuries. Weems has made it her mission to fight for better access to treatment, and better support for families.
“We have got to have same-day access to real treatment, to a bed to detox. Because if you let them go, the option is death, or to get deeper and deeper into the addiction.”
Weems doesn’t want to wait any longer for change, so she’s running as a Republican for state senate in the 7th district. Her resume includes election for the fifth time in November to the Virginia Beach School Board. She and other mothers have already caused change in Richmond — getting legislation passed last year that mandated Virginia schools to provide education on opioids.
“I’ve worked statewide with both sides of the aisle on the things that we agree on, and we all agree that this is a crisis. It’s killing our youth and it’s killing our elderly.”
Weems says she wants insurance companies to expand their limits when it comes to coverage for residential addiction treatment.
She also says lawmakers need some education when it comes to addiction. Weems says she was suprised to find out how little some lawmakers knew about the scourge that took her daughter’s life.
“They didn’t understand what Narcan was, and they didn’t realize that it was so hard to get treatment.”
The FBI has recognized Weems for her outreach to other parents, and she facilitates a local recovery grief group for families like hers. She also founded Caitlyn’s Halo, a resource for young women dealing with addiction.