The number of deaths from heroin is rising and abuse of prescription drugs in Virginia has resulted in the state coming up with a five-part initiative to save lives. Monday, Attorney General Mark Herring announced the program at the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police meeting in Roanoke. According to Herring, the statistics from the state Medical Examiner show more than 800 Virginians died from drug overdoses in 2012 and that heroin overdose deaths were nearly double that from 103 in 2011 to 197 in 2013. The largest increase in heroin use was a 164% increase in Northern Virginia.
The five-point plan focuses on prosecution, prevention, education, treatment and enforcement. Herring’s office has worked with Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran and the Department of Criminal Justice Services to organize a summit of law enforcement leaders, prosecutors, and health professionals to determine what legislative or tactical changes may be needed to reduce the usage of and fatalities caused by prescription opiates and heroin. The day-long summit will be held October 2 in Charlottesville.