Hundreds attend summit on opioid awareness

NV parents who lost son speak out

LATEST:  Hundreds of students were at the summit Tuesday.  They each received a challenge coin and pledged to help fight the opioid epidemic. For one student, the event had special meaning.

"I had gotten my teeth pulled and they had given me prescription drugs," said Kahra Greenwell.

Greenwell has been clean and sober for 11 months now.  

"When I hit my bottom is when I realized hey, I can't do this anymore," she said.

She says she'll take what she learned today back to other students at Mission High School.

ORIGINAL:  Select students from Clark County schools will be gathering at a youth summit on opioid awareness at The Venetian Tuesday morning.

The goal of the event, put on by the Drug Enforcement Administration and other agencies, is to bring kids together to talk about opioid abuse.

13 Action News sat down with one of the families set to speak at the Tuesday's event.

The Yenicks lost their son, Michael Edward Yenick, to an opioid overdose on Oct. 2, 2015.

"We sat down at dinner every night, went to church on Sundays, it can happen to anybody," said Edward Yenick Jr. "He's the son that every father wants and I'm glad he was mine."

After his sophomore year with the Nevada Wolf Pack, Michael had a back injury as well as a torn patella resulting in knee surgery. He was in a lot of pain and prescribed prescription pills.

Loved ones say his personality started to change.

"Turned into a different person," said Edward Yenick Jr.

The committed tight-knit family tirelessly tried to save their son.

"I called his physician out of desperation and I said you can't prescribe these drugs anymore," said mom Cyndi Yenick. "... And the physician kept giving it to him every 30 days."

After Michael's death, the Yenicks would contact the Drug Enforcement Administration for justice.

"The doctor ended up getting arrested, pled guilty to manslaughter, and he's serving 10 years in prison," said Edward Yenick Jr.

The family created a nonprofit to educate students about the disease of addiction to pain killing prescription drugs.

"He always used to give these big hugs, to everybody, big giant bear hugs, that's how the name came," said Cyndi Yenick.

Athletes like their son are particularly vulnerable. The Yenicks want the youth to understand the danger before their first prescription.

They say they are driven to educate by love for their son.

"I hear him say, mom... you've got to tell them about the dangers of prescription pain pills," said Cyndi Yenick.

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