Officer Norman has been working to raise awareness about drug addiction a year after his daughter’s tragic death from fentanyl poisoning.
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – You might know him as Officer Tommy Norman, the fun, community-minded police officer with a big heart.
But what you may not realize is that a year ago, on November 17, 2021, Officer Norman received a call that would change his life forever.
This time, the North Little Rock police officer would not respond to an ordinary civilian call, but to his own daughter’s overdose.
“The morning of November 17, I’m at work and my phone rings. It says The Harbor Home, where Alyssa lived,” he said.
Confused, Norman said, “I froze because I didn’t want to answer the phone because I was wondering why she wasn’t calling me.”
It was during this call that Norman realized that something was very wrong with his daughter.
“They said, ‘Mr. Norman, Alyssa overdosed last night. So my response was, ‘Where is she? I want to come see my daughter,'” he said.
But he would never have the chance to see her alive again – Alyssa Victoria-Rose Norman, 26, was gone.
His father said this year has been extremely difficult for his entire family, but he has found ways to deal with his grief a year later.
One of the hardest things for him to deal with was the fact that Alyssa had never intended to go to bed that night and never wake up.
“She had no intention of dying. I planned to hang out with her the next day,” Norman explained.
Although the two spoke to each other the day before Alyssa died, Norman shared that his daughter didn’t sound like herself when talking to her father.
Norman went to bed with an unsettling feeling – only to learn the next morning that Alyssa had died of a fatal overdose.
“I remember dropping my phone and my head hitting the steering wheel of my police cruiser,” he said. “When they carried his body in a white body bag, I went into police mode, like I was on duty. I could protect my brain, which was to say I work and I’m on duty.”
Now he’s still trying to deal with his emotions after the loss of his daughter, and Norman admitted he didn’t get ‘the cry’ he wanted – and he’s not sure he ever will. day.
The pain was so traumatic for Norman that it felt like he was in literal grief – the officer had a massive heart attack nearly four months to the day after his daughter’s death.
“I know God saved my life, I know EMS saved my life, but Alyssa saved my life. I could hear her say, ‘Dad, not today.'”
Norman says he is much better now, but the pain is still there.
In the meantime, as he “walks hand in hand with grief”, Norman shared that he visited Alyssa’s grave to mark the anniversary of her death.
It may not make his overdose easier, but it reminded him how deadly synthetic opioids can be.
“The drugs that came out today, not just in Arkansas, but across the United States, can take you in the snap of a finger,” he said.
Norman said that according to the coroner’s report, Alyssa died of “fentanyl poisoning”.
According to the CDC, more than 150 people die every day from overdoses linked to synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
“For young people, don’t give in, don’t take drugs. And for adults, if you’re taking drugs, make sure you know what you’re taking,” Norman added.
Now he uses his platform to help raise awareness.
“I’ve had drug addicts reach out to me privately to say, ‘Because of your daughter’s story, I either stopped using drugs or got help,'” he shared.
Norman described his daughter as ‘daddy’s girl’ – she was a lovely person who loved helping others.
Knowing that she still impacts others even after her death has helped her family grieve and celebrate her legacy.
Although Alyssa’s addiction may have repeated itself, from her late teens through her early twenties, her father told us she was on the right track as she neared death.
We are told that she recently passed her real estate exam, was recently baptized, and was a good mother to her son.