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Attorney General Mark Herring addresses heroin and opioid epidemic

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HENRICO COUNTY, Va. -- Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring took on the growing heroin and prescription drug epidemic in the Commonwealth during the McShin Foundation's Spring Award Banquet Monday evening.

The McShin Foundation is Virginia’s leading non-profit, full service recovery center in Henrico County.

In Virginia, there have been more than 4,000 overdoses on opioids since 2007. Experts say it is an epidemic plaguing the nation.

Attorney General Herring was the keynote speaker at the 12th annual banquet. Herring said he has worked closely with the McShin foundation and the government to help combat the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic.

“The more we can make treatment options more readily available, the more we can do in education and prevention so people never get started using these drugs,” he said. “Those are the kinds of things we need to see all across the commonwealth. I’m really pleased with the progress we’re making."

Attorney General Mark Herring

Attorney General Mark Herring

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, with an estimated street value of more than $19 million, according to the McShin Foundation.

Herring said his approach to attacking the epidemic 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.

“I’ve seen firsthand, having spoken work individuals in recovery, that there is hope in recovery and it can work,” Herring said. “We’ve got the make it more widely readily available so if there is an addict who really wants to change, they have somewhere they can go.”

Herring was also recognized with the Bronze Key award at the banquet for his work to help address the heroin problem.