We can’t imagine what it must be like to lose a child.
Victoria Siegel was found unresponsive in her home last month, before being rushed to Health Center Hospital in Florida. Sadly, she was pronounced dead while at the medical facility, because of what we now know was a drug overdose.
After releasing the results of her autopsy, which was conducted back in June, Queen of Versailles stars Jackie and David Siegel are speaking out about their daughter’s untimely passing.
Her father reveals that the 18-year-old suffered from anxiety, saying:
“Victoria was the perfect storm. She had trouble getting through high school, she didn’t like school, so she wasn’t making good grades. She did graduate, but when she graduated, she didn’t plan to go to college, at least not right away.”
He explained that a therapist prescribed her some Xanax, which is how she ultimately developed a drug addiction. The autopsy showed that Victoria’s death was the result of a lethal combination of pain and depression medication — specifically methadone and sertraline.
Her parents say they believe it was cyberbullying that forced their daughter to turn to drugs that fateful day.
That weekend was her one-month anniversary with her boyfriend, a man who was eight years older than her and shared a daughter with his ex.
David and Jackie let Victoria stay home from a family trip to Utah so she could celebrate with him, since they were nervous she would relapse if they didn’t.
The morning her body was found, her boyfriend’s ex was paying him a visit, when she snatched his phone to text Victoria. David explains his daughter was being cyberbullied:
“Three hours later, the ex-girlfriend sent her a text that was the most vile, horrible thing any girl in love could receive.”
Supposedly, the text said Victoria’s boyfriend got together with his ex so they could sleep together, and that he was only with the wealthy teen because of her fortune.
Her father feels this horrible message is what pushed her to take pills that day:
“She wasn’t depressed. She was very optimistic, and then the cyber text came and destroyed her. It was her first love. She was madly in love, and then the girl that sent it stabbed her in the heart.”
In order to cope with losing their daughter so young, David and Jackie are talking about the tragedy to raise awareness about addiction.
They started Victoria’s Voice Foundation in order to help other families and young people affected by drug abuse. David explained creating some good from this tough time is all he cares about:
“One hundred percent of my focus right now is on saving lives. Not on business, not on houses, not on reality shows. I want my daughter’s legacy to be that thousands of lives will be saved because she lost hers. That’s what’s keeping us sane. We could have crawled into bed, pulled the covers over our head and been a basket case, but instead we embarked on this journey to help other people, to save other families from going through what we’ve gone through.”
He feels that in today’s society, addiction rates are higher because drugs are so easily introduced from such a young age:
“I was overactive when I was a kid. Fortunately, they didn’t stick me on anything. But today, if a child is overactive, they stick them on Ritalin.”
He’s also calling for more education about addiction, so that children and teenagers can be aware of the dangers drugs pose, even those that are prescribed to them:
“Every school, every university or even high schools should have one course on drug addiction. The kids don’t know what they’re doing. They think that if a drug is prescribed by a doctor, it must be safe. They have no idea, these things, what they do, and we’re way over-prescribing the drugs. But we’ve got to have courses in college, especially freshman year when they first come here. We’ve got to have random drug testing. That will save thousands of lives. Schools don’t even know how to deal with this problem, so they look the other way. They pretend it doesn’t exist, but it does.”
He believes that addiction needs to be approached with as much care as any other illness, which is part of the reason why they started the foundation:
“It’s a disease. If somebody gets cancer, you treat it. Well, if somebody starts doing drugs, you treat it. You can’t just ignore it. It’s not going to go away.”
Jackie says working with Victoria’s Voice is really the best way they can cope with their terrible loss:
“By doing this, it’s given us some strength, knowing that we’re going to save other lives and that Victoria didn’t die in vain. That maybe death has a greater purpose.”
While throwing themselves into raising this awareness has been helping them get through this rough time, David explains that there’s no way to describe the amount of pain they feel:
“My only regret is I wish I’d spent more time with her. You don’t think they’re only going to be there for a short time. You think, ‘Oh, there’s always tomorrow.’ Well, there isn’t always tomorrow.”
Our hearts go out to the entire Siegel family, as well as everyone affected by this terrible tragedy, and everyone out there who is struggling with addiction.
[Image via Lauren Greenfield/Bravo.]