Attorney General talks Hampton Roads opioid problem

Posted at 11:58 AM, Apr 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-21 18:26:29-04

NORFOLK, VA. - Virginia's Attorney General spoke to law enforcement Friday morning about the drug crisis across the state.

Mark Herring told News 3 more than 1,110 lives were taken last year due to the opioid problem.

Herring said more than 250 of those were in Hampton Roads.

During his speech at the Virginia Sheriff's Institute in Norfolk, he called those numbers "frightening" and "heartbreaking".

The Attorney General said he's focusing on education, prevention, and prosecution of dealers and traffickers to help end the problem.

“We’re gonna be relentless in pursing the dealers and traffickers but we know this is as much a health crisis as a law enforcement issue. It’s really gonna take a community-wide response with prevention, education," Herring said during the conference.

Recovering addicts tell News 3 they hope the new attention will save lives.

“If you just put a band aid over it, if you just incarcerate them – all you’re gonna do is sober them up for a period of time," Joseph Tringle, a student at Youth Challenge of Hampton Roads - which helps people recovering from addiction, said. "You’re not changing anything that they are.”

Along with opioids, Herring also talked about working to expand and enhance re-entry services in local and regional jails