Herring announces ongoing investigation to help address opioid crisis
Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced today that the Commonwealth of Virginia is part of 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. The Attorneys General are investigating what role the opioid manufacturers may have played in creating or prolonging this epidemic. The coalition of Attorneys General is using its investigative tools, including subpoenas for documents and testimony, to determine the appropriate course of action to address this opioid epidemic.
Nationwide and in Virginia, opioids-prescription and illicit-are the main driver of drug overdose deaths. Opioids were involved in 33,091 deaths nationwide in 2015, and opioid overdoses have quadrupled nationally since 1999.
“Far too many Virginians are still losing their lives and loved ones to the opioid crisis. I remain committed to combatting this epidemic in our communities with smart, tough prosecutions against dealers and traffickers who profit off addiction as well as education, prevention, outreach, and treatment. This bipartisan investigation into the culpability of opioid manufacturers in creating, sustaining and extending the opioid epidemic is yet another component of our ongoing effort to address this very serious problem facing Virginia,” said Attorney General Herring.
Though the bipartisan coalition of Attorneys General is not identifying specific targets of its investigation at this time, Attorney General Herring and his colleagues want to assure their constituents that they are actively taking steps to help address the ongoing opioid epidemic and considering all tools including litigation against manufacturers.
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. He has 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, and made prescription drug disposal kits available across the Commonwealth. During his time in office, Attorney General Herring and his team are working or have worked 90 cases against dealers and traffickers involving more than 434 pounds of heroin worth more than $29.5 million on the street.