During remarks in Virginia Beach before the Virginia Association of Chiefs of Police annual conference, Attorney General Mark Herring outlined his recommended next steps for the Commonwealth of Virginia to confront the national epidemic of opioid and heroin abuse.
“The opioid crisis is the most pressing public safety and public health crisis confronting Virginia today. It is a wave that has been building for decades and we’re now seeing it wash over communities and families in every corner of the country, and from every walk of life,” said Attorney General Herring. “This epidemic doesn’t discriminate and it doesn’t lend itself to simple solutions like more arrests, or simple messages like ‘just stop using.’ We have to recognize that this is a complex problem that calls for a multifaceted solution. My team and I have been working on this problem every day for nearly four years, and we’re not going to stop because we are still losing too many treasured friends, spouses, siblings, children, and parents to this epidemic.”
During his term, Attorney General Herring and his team have:
- Worked more than 90 cases against dealers and traffickers involving more than 434 pounds of heroin worth more than $25 million on the street;
- Joined a bipartisan coalition of Attorneys General from across the country in an ongoing investigation to evaluate whether manufacturers have engaged in unlawful practices in the marketing and sale of opioids.
- Sought sanctions against more than 260 medical professionals for opioid-related infractions
- Launched www.HardestHitVA.com as a comprehensive resource for treatment, recovery, and educational resources;
- Created an award-winningdocumentary to educate young people on the dangers of heroin and prescription opioids;
- Been recognized by the recovery community for his work to address the crisis;
- Won passage of laws to make naloxone more widely available, to create the state’s first Good Samaritan “safe reporting” law, and to expand access to the Prescription Monitoring Program;
- Supported federal efforts to improve the availability of treatment and recovery resources;
- Partnered with U.S. Attorney Dana Boente to create the Hampton Roads Heroin Working Group to develop holistic, community-driven solutions to the heroin and opioid crisis;
- Made prescription drug disposal kits available across the Commonwealth.
Going forward, Attorney General Herring will expand on the collaborative, multi-faceted approach that has proved successful in raising awareness of the problem, educating Virginians on the realities of substance use disorder, and helping to save lives.