Attorney General Mark R. Herring issued the following statement praising the Senate’s passage of the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, a bill to provide additional resources to prevent heroin and prescription opioid abuse and overdose, and the work of Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine to advance the measure. In September, Herring and his colleagues wrote to the House and Senate Judiciary committees urging them to pass this important measure:
“Passage of CARA is a big step forward in addressing what has become a national epidemic of prescription drug and heroin abuse and overdose. If anything cried out for bipartisan action it is this ‘all hands on deck’ moment, and my only regret is that these resources come too late for thousands of families in Virginia and throughout the country who have already lost a loved one to addiction. Every day I read about another Virginian, often a young person with their whole life ahead of them, who lost their life to a heroin or prescription drug overdose. It’s heartbreaking to read these stories and to talk to the parents, family, and friends of these people who never thought anyone in their family would be touched by addiction, but now are trying to carry on in the face of such a tremendous loss.
“I really appreciate Senator Warner and Senator Kaine’s support of the bill and their hard work on this issue. Senator Kaine’s specific provision to prevent abuse and misuse of prescription drugs by older Americans is a creative solution to an under-recognized aspect of this problem, and I look forward to the Senate moving forward on his Naloxone co-prescribing proposal as soon as possible.
“Passage of CARA, along with the General Assembly’s inclusion of $11 million in state funding for treatment and recovery in the proposed state budget, is really encouraging to see. This is a public safety and public health crisis and it calls for a response that includes treatment, education, and prevention alongside enforcement.”
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. In the last year and a half, Attorney General Herring and his team have worked with local and federal partners to prosecute more than 28 cases against dealers and traffickers involving more than 95 kilograms of heroin, or approximately 238,500 daily doses, with an estimated street value of more than $19 million.
His office has also created a documentary called “Heroin: The Hardest Hit” which features Virginians sharing their own stories of addiction, overdose, and recovery. It also includes stories of young people who lost their lives to a fatal heroin overdose.