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“Fentanyl continues to drive overdose deaths in Virginia. Statewide, the synthetic opioid contributed to 76.5% of the 2,656 overdose deaths in 2021, according to the Virginia Department of Health. The community of people who’ve lost loved ones to the drug is quickly growing, many looking for ways to draw focus to a problem they believe is not getting enough attention.” (source)

Published in 2022

Viewing Time: 23 minutes


“These are the people employing their stories of heartbreak, helping to communicate a message that this can happen to you. A synthetic opioid so widespread, its effects are metastasizing to the non-addicted.”

“Every morning I still walk past and look into her room as if she’s going to be there. Maybe that will change, but probably not.”

“They are creating a completely new pill that their marketing as a legitimate prescribed painkiller, but in fact it contains fentanyl.”

“What makes fentanyl so deadly is it’s a painkiller that’s 100x stronger than morphine and 50x more powerful than heroin. Some people addicted to opioids or other drugs turned to it in search of a greater high. Only two milligrams are enough to kill.”

“It leads to a neurological phenomenon that is called Dopamine Flooding, which basically means there’s more dopamine released within the nervous system than the brain is naturally able to cope with and able to handle. As a result, the brain is overwhelmed … and it begins to shut down.”

Screenshot from The Fentanyl Crisis: Stories of Heartbreak and Hope; About the opioid crisis, fentanyl, and overdose

“It’s important to get the message across that fentanyl is in different types of drugs and it’s being laced in things. It’s something that needs to be out into the world, that this is happening and it’s not an overdose as some of the signs say, it’s poisoning. People are being poisoned by this.”


“When they’re taking heroin or prescription pills or anything like that, the half-life is really, really short. It gives them a quick high and then they come crashing down and they need another hit to keep going.”

“It was a fatal crossroads for Joey Travieso as depression set the stage of his tragic overdose. [Kimberly] heals through Joey’s Heart, a non-profit buoyed by inspirational children’s books she authored … and her magazine inspired by Joey’s challenges, Bully. ‘It is motivational stories about people sharing their testimonies and how they overcame the challenges in life.’

“When I was about 15, that’s when I really started using pills and drinking. It really wasn’t a problem until I turned 17 and that’s when I was pretty much using daily – benzos and opiates. It wasn’t until I was 19 that I started using heroin and I kind of fell in love with that. I continued to use heroin for almost 10 years.”

“Dr. Paul Hardy runs Recovery For Life in Virginia Beach – treatment through group and individual counselling that focuses on the mind and heart.”

“You can say Jan Brown and her SpiritWorks Foundation Center for the Soul helped saved Bellamy’s life … A big part of what we do is provide recovery support services so that whatever the outcome or whatever it is along the journey that somebody is having, we can be a supportive community for that family or for that mom or for that child.”

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