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After My Daughter’s Overdose, My Family Vowed to Fight the Opioid Epidemic

Jackie Siegel

Where do I begin, my Victoria. She was my oldest child, big sister to six, and is missed every single day. I remember the day she was born, I never imagined that I would be burying a child. But like so many parents out there — it happened to me, and I pray no other parent has to go through it.

Victoria was a free spirit hippie; people called her Rikki. She loved animals and always saw the good in people. Our family loves animals and she would always find the “last chance” ones. I have her dog Zen, he was one of those. And now he never leaves my side.  

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Courtesy of Jackie Siegel Jackie Siegel

There was so much we didn’t know about Victoria until reading her journal. Victoria had a weight problem in her early teens, but blossomed. We didn’t realize that she had an eating disorder and was using drugs to stay skinny and fit in. She tried so hard and got in with a bad group of people. 

That may have been her downfall. She started to hate school and was skipping class. I don’t think we would have known the true extent of her drug use without her sharing her journal with me. She sent her friend a text saying, if anything happens to her, where I could find it. Her dying wish was that we publish it to help other teens who are struggling with drug addiction and other problems. This year we fulfilled that wish and we included tips, warning signs and our story so other parents will be armed with the knowledge they need to protect and save their children.

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Courtesy of Jackie Siegel Jackie Siegel

My husband, David, and I wish we would have known about the drug epidemic the way we do now — maybe Victoria might still be here.

The statistics are terrifying. In 2016, 64,000 people were reported to have died from a drug overdose. That number increased by approximately 30 percent in 2017 and another 30 percent in 2018. 

David always says we’re losing our future generations: “We could be losing the cure for cancer, inventions we will never experience, movies we will never see, books we will never read, music we will never hear. We could be losing our future Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.”

And it’s true, every life has value — and God forbid it is your child. But there is hope, and that hope is the drug Naloxone. The sad part is that not a lot of people know about it.  

If a person is overdosing, and one breath away from death, one spray of naloxone or (Narcan spray) in the nose can save them within two to five minutes. It truly is a miracle drug. This can get them to an emergency room and mean the difference between life and death. 

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Courtesy of Jackie Siegel Jackie Siegel

Where there is life there is hope. Everyone — and I mean everyone — should have this in their home. The opioids are so powerful now, it only takes one time. Imagine that: a nasal spray can mean the difference between life and death.

David carries it around wherever he goes and tells everyone he meets about it. I am proud to say that he has gotten it into the hands of first responders and saved thousands of lives.

Victoria’s legacy is that many more people will live. That’s our promise to her.

We love you Victoria.

The Siegel family founded the Victoria’s Voice in their daughter’s honor. They work to promote legislation that combats the opioid epidemic and travel around the country sharing Victoria’s story. 

If you or someone you know is struggling with addiction, you can get help by calling the Drug Addiction Hotline at 1-877-813-5721.

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