Hampton Roads forms group to fight heroin and opioid crisis

Posted at 11:57 AM, Sep 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-21 17:47:28-04

NORFOLK, VA. - Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring was on hand today to announce a new effort to fight the heroin and opioid crisis in Hampton Roads.

The Hampton Roads Heroin Working Group will consist of law enforcement officers, the medical and mental health community, and first responders.

“Everyone needs a seat at the table," Herring explained. "When communities are engaged in developing their own solutions that work for them, that’s when we see even more success.”

According to the group, there have been more than 400 fatal and non-fatal drug overdoses in Hampton Roads since January.

“This is a problem that’s crossing all demographic lines. It can happen to any family and that’s why all families need to be talking about this now," Herring said.

The group’s mission is to reduce demand by community awareness, support through service based organizations, and medical community leadership.

They will also aggressively target heroin dealers and dismantle supply organizations.

“We aren’t going to solve the problem just by prosecution. This has to include education, prevention, and treatment. That’s why it’s important for us to be part of a group.”

Herring says by the end of the year, they're could be at least 1,000 fatal drug overdoses in the Commonwealth.

“That is more people than will be killed in automobile accidents this year," U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia Dana Boente said.

The group will meet again in December, then quarterly starting next year.