HENRICO COUNTY, Va. – In response to the ongoing heroin and prescription drug crisis, Virginia’s Attorney General is relaunching www.hardesthitva.com, a website aimed at connecting Virginians to treatment resource centers and expending education and prevention materials on the drug abuse epidemic.
On Monday night, Mark Herring sat with families from across the commonwealth who’ve been touched by addiction.
They watched, in silence, the award winning documentary on the drug crisis that has claimed hundreds of lives in every corner of the state.
Herring and the McShin Foundation, a Henrico based treatment and recovery center, hosted Monday night’s event.
Through June 30 of this year, 208 Virginians died of a heroin overdose, 288 of a fentanyl overdose and 220 of a prescription opioid overdose.
After the screening of “Heroin: The Hardest Hit,” a panel discussion was held with former addicts profiled in the documentary, who shared their powerful testimonies of drug addiction and recovery.
Hannah Newsome, who has been drug-free for more than a year, says community programs, like McShin, saved her life.
She has since spearheaded the Women’s Hart Program, a Chesterfield initiative to help female addicts overcome drug addiction while serving jail time.
“Doing the HART program is a huge part of recovery,” Newsome says. “I come in and see these women and they remind me of where I was and through seeing them grow, I grow.”
While federal and state initiatives have helped combat the drug addiction crisis, several people in attendance pointed out the need for same-day services, training for medical doctors and more state programs for indigent addicts who want help.
Herring, who has made combating the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic a top priority through a multifaceted approach that includes law enforcement, education, prevention and legislation, says he supports expanding resources and state program for families.
“One of the things we’re working really hard on is that people understand that this can happen to anyone,” Herring says. “If you’re a parent and your son or daughter has a problem, we want you to know the community is here to support you and there are a lot of caring people ready to help.”