~ New education and prevention resources, a new comprehensive website, legislation, and initiatives to control opioid prescriptions will complement two years of ongoing efforts with local, state, and federal partners ~
Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced today that he is launching a coordinated effort this fall to prevent overdose deaths and to educate Virginians, especially young people, on the dangers of heroin and prescription opioids. With overdose fatalities expected to approach or exceed 1,000 in 2016, a number that would well-exceed car crashes, Attorney General Herring is redoubling his work to address heroin and prescription drug abuse through, education, prevention, enforcement, and legislative solutions.
“The only way we’re ever going to get our arms around this problem is with a robust, concerted effort to educate Virginians, especially young people, on just how dangerous these drugs can be, how quickly they can take over your life, and how severe or even deadly the consequences of abuse can be,” said Attorney General Herring. “For more than two years I’ve been pushing education and prevention even as we go after the dealers and traffickers that profit from addiction. We’ve secured additional legislative tools, like expanded naloxone and the state’s first safe reporting law, and tens of thousands have seen our documentary, but I’m not going to let up. There is so much more we need to do to prevent the tragic loss of life and the heartbreak that too many Virginia families already know.”
On Wednesday, Attorney General Herring will join U.S. Attorney Dana Boente for the launch of the Hampton Roads Heroin Working Group, a multidisciplinary effort that will bring together the public, law enforcement, the medical community, and others to develop community-wide solutions to the heroin and prescription drug crisis. The group will spend the next year developing “demand-side” strategies to complement ongoing “supply-side” efforts by Attorney General Herring and U.S. Attorney Boente to hold dealers and traffickers accountable through strategic prosecutions of major suppliers of heroin and other opioids. The group can also provide a model for communities throughout Virginia seeking an effective, coordinated community response to the crisis in their area.
Attorney General Herring will also partner with community organizations and local law enforcement to screen his award winning documentary “Heroin: The Hardest Hit,” which features Virginians sharing their own stories of addiction, recovery, and the ways that substance abuse disorder has affected them and their families. In the coming weeks he will relaunch www.HardestHitVA.com as a comprehensive resource for Virginians seeking education, prevention, and treatment resources.
All screenings are free and open to the public. They will feature “Heroin: The Hardest Hit” as well as testimony from individuals in the area who have been impacted by opioid addiction including parents, law enforcement, and people in long term recovery. Screenings are currently scheduled for:
When: Monday, October 3, 2016, 7:00 PM
Where: Boys and Girls Club
169 Keith Street
When: Wednesday, October 5, 2016; 6:30 PM
Where: Manchester High School
12601 Bailey Bridge Road
When: Thursday, October 6, 2016; 6:30 PM
Where: Herndon Middle School
901 Locust Street
More screenings will be scheduled throughout the fall.
Additional initiatives will be announced in the coming weeks to help educate young people on the dangers of these drugs, to prevent abuse of prescription opioids, to support law enforcement in their fight against heroin and prescription drug abuse, and to provide additional legislative solutions to the crisis.
Over the last two years, Attorney General Herring has made combating the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic a top priority, attacking the problem with a multifaceted approach that includes enforcement, education, prevention, and legislation to encourage reporting of overdoses in progress, expand the availability of naloxone, and expand access to the Prescription Monitoring Program.