Her son battled drug addiction and lost. Dad fights back.

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RICHMOND, Va. — Since his son’s overdose death, Dr. Abu Abubaker has been committed to changing the stigma of addiction. He also hopes to educate future generations in a bid to eradicate the opioid crisis that claimed more than 100,000 lives last year.

Abubaker helped launch the Adam Abubaker Lecture Series at VCU Medical Center on Monday.

“I promised for the rest of my life I would change the addiction killer, wherever I can and anyway I can,” the professor of oral and maxillofacial surgery told a large crowd of professors and of students.

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Adam Abubaker was 21 when he died of a heroin overdose in September 2014. His father believes minor surgery to repair a football injury a year earlier led his son to struggle with opioids on prescription and possibly heroin.

Despite 10 months of recovery, the hold of illicit drugs on Adam was too strong.

Adam’s death inspired his father to pursue graduate studies in drug addiction and to become an advocate and educator for future medical providers.

“It became my therapy to talk about him because everywhere, in every lecture I gave, I talked about him, and to that extent I kept his memory alive,” Abubaker said.

In addition to creating the Adam Abubaker Lecture Series, the professor began teaching students about safe prescribing practices and established a scholarship in Adam’s name for students who wish to pursue additional studies in the field of addiction.

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Monday’s inaugural lecture was extended to the wider medical community and others interested in learning more about the science of addiction.

“Dental students, medical students, doctors, nurses, it’s open to everyone on campus,” Abubaker said.

Abubaker hopes that working with medical providers will not only dispel misinformation about addiction, but help raise awareness, find treatments and seek prevention for substance use disorders affecting millions of people around the world.

“It kind of boils down to me wanting to change the world, one student at a time,” Abubaker said. “As they teach them about diabetes and hypertension, they should teach them about addiction.”

If you would like to support Dr. Abubaker’s work to honor his son’s memory, you can send donations to The MCV Foundation, MCV Foundation, Box 980234, Richmond, VA 23298 or donate online at support.vcu.edu

This segment is sponsored by WHOA Behavioral Health.

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