Focuses on Attorney General’s role in coordinating efforts around prevention and education, treatment, and enforcement
RICHMOND – During a press conference at the Chesterfield County Jail, John Adams, the Republican nominee for attorney general, today announced his statewide policy proposal to combat Virginia’s substance abuse and overdose crisis, including the heroin and opioid epidemic, which is dramatically impacting communities across the Commonwealth. The comprehensive plan focuses on the attorney general’s ability to coordinate efforts in three main areas: prevention and education; treatment; and, enforcement.
Speaking about his proposal, Adams said, “The heroin and opioid epidemic keeps getting worse every year, not better. Since 2013, fatal opioid overdoses have increased 66%. In the last year alone, we have lost over 1,400 lives to drug overdoses in Virginia, outpacing deaths caused by motor vehicle accidents and gun-related incidents. It’s an issue you cannot go anywhere in Virginia without hearing about. It’s affecting Virginia’s mothers and fathers, children and friends. What has become very clear to me over the last year is that there is a need for bold action at the state level to combat the substance abuse and overdose crisis in Virginia.”
Adams continued, “The time for talk is over. We need an attorney general who will bring real action to help curb this crisis. That’s why, right after I began campaigning, I assembled a substance abuse working group of law enforcement officials, attorneys in the field, and state and nonprofit service providers to help advise on what is needed and how the attorney general can help. As a former federal prosecutor, I have seen first hand the impact of drugs on our communities. And, I have seen the amazing work of our law enforcement, health care providers, volunteers, and more, to help people at their lowest points, sacrifice to save lives, and devote countless hours to helping others get back on their feet. They need our support.”
Adams concluded, “The attorney general’s office has the ability to be a leader on this issue and bring attention, resources, and coordination statewide to combat the heroin and opioid epidemic. My statewide substance abuse policy focuses on three critical areas in curbing this crisis – prevention and education, treatment, and enforcement. The attorney general needs to do more to leverage state resources and enhance efforts across Virginia. One person alone can not solve this problem, but bringing everybody to the table and coordinating efforts is essential to combating this epidemic.”
Chesterfield County Sheriff Karl Leonard added, “Virginia has not escaped the grip of the opioid and heroin crisis that is plaguing this nation. We need to do more across Virginia to help those with the disease of addiction, especially opioid and heroin addictions. And we need to do it before they end up in jail or dead from an overdose. But for those who do end up in jail we must be preparing them for a sober and productive life after incarceration. Through Chesterfield’s innovative Heroin Addiction Recovery Program (HARP) we are helping inmates address the root causes of their addiction and providing resources to get them on their feet and be productive members of society after they serve their time. It’s an approach that John understands and embraces, and it’s why his leadership as attorney general will be pivotal to helping curb the substance abuse epidemic we are seeing here in Virginia.”
Sarah Melton, Chair of the Board of Directors of OneCare of Southwest Virginia, noted, “One Care of Southwest Virginia shares John Adams' belief that the work and outreach activities of community coalitions are key to addressing the prescription drug and heroin overdose epidemic. The coalitions represented by One Care are committed to working together with the office of the Attorney General and other stakeholders to decrease the social, economic, and health-related factors associated with opioid use disorders through education, planning, policy, data, and advocacy.
Read the full Statewide Substance Abuse and Overdose Crisis Policy Proposal here.
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