RICHMOND (February 27, 2015) – As the General Assembly adjourns today, Attorney General Mark R. Herring highlighted the passage of several bills from his office to address Virginia’s heroin and prescription drug crisis, to protect children, seniors, and survivors of domestic violence, and to promote public safety throughout Virginia. This package of bills, now on its way to Governor Terry McAuliffe for his consideration, represents a strong bipartisan collaboration between Attorney General Herring and lawmakers to address a variety of public safety issues facing the Commonwealth.
“From measures to combat heroin, to laws to help keep domestic violence victims safe, these bills will save lives and make the Commonwealth a safer place,” said Attorney General Herring. “These bills came from the experiences and concerns of parents, Virginia law enforcement, and victims, all of whom have a unique and valuable perspective on public safety issues facing the Commonwealth. I look forward to reporting back to them all about the progress we’ve made as a state on a very diverse set of issues. I’m disappointed that we weren’t able to come to an agreement on a stronger state-level drug induced homicide statute, but we will keep working to find an appropriate way to ensure that dealers are held accountable when their drugs lead to a death.”
HB1500 – Safe Reporting (Carr, McClellan, O’Bannon, Rasoul, Rust):
This bill will encourage reporting of overdoses in progress by establishing an affirmative defense for minor possession or intoxication crimes if a person reports an overdose, remains on the scene, and identifies themselves as the reporter. Safe reporting provisions currently exist in 21 other states and the District of Columbia.
HB1458 – Statewide Naloxone Expansion (Carr, Hodges, O’Bannon, Rust):
Naloxone is a prescription drug that counteracts the effects of a heroin or prescription opioid overdose. This bill expands the current naloxone pilot project to authorize naloxone use by any law enforcement agency in the Commonwealth. It also provides immunity to law enforcement who administer the drug. Similar authorization currently exists in 23 states. According to the Centers for Disease Control, naloxone successfully reversed more than 10,000 overdoses between 1996 and 2010.
SB817 – Access to PMP by Probation Officers (Howell):
This bill will allow probation officers to access Virginia’s Prescription Monitoring Program to ensure their probationers are not getting opioid prescriptions they are not authorized to have.