Virginia Receives Nearly $10 Million to Combat Opioid Epidemic

Virginia Receives Nearly $10 Million to Combat Opioid EpidemicThe state of Virginia has been granted $9.7 million by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration in an effort to combat the opioid crisis. The office of Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe announced the funds would be allocated toward the purchase of life-saving overdose reversal medications like naloxone, increase support of medical professionals who administer the medication and provide treatment for addiction, as well as increase community awareness and access to opioid addiction treatment services.

We have seen the horrible toll that opioids have taken on our communities. Virginia’s Medicaid program has done an excellent job of expanding the types of services it covers, but without Medicaid expansion, many individuals who could benefit from treatment are unable to afford it. These grant funds will help pay for the necessary medications as well as counseling and other support services that individuals need to successfully recover.Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe

The Opioid Epidemic Claimed the Lives of More than 1,000 Virginians Last Year

Virginia’s State Health Commissioner, Dr. Marissa J. Levine, declared  that the opioid addiction crisis was a public health emergency in November of last year.
Facts You Need to Know About Virginia's Opioid Epidemic
  • In 2016, 1,133 Virginians died from opioid overdoses, including heroin, fentanyl, and prescription opioids – a 40 percent increase over the previous year.
  • Emergency room visits for heroin overdose from January to September of  2016 increased by 89% compared to the same period in 2015.
  • The number of deadly drug overdoses in Virginia increased 35% in the first 6 months when compared to the same time period in 2015.
  • The rate of Hepatitis C cases reported in Virginia increased by 28% between 2010 and 2015, primarily due to injection drug use. In 2016, 2,023 cases of Hepatitis C were reported.
  • Virginia’s medical examiner revealed a 175 percent increase in drug overdose deaths related to different varieties of fentanyl.
  • At least 1,420 Virginia residents died in 2016 from drug overdoses.
  • 2016 was the 4th year that drug overdose deaths were the leading cause of unnatural death in Virginia – surpassing car accidents and gun-related incident.
  • In 2016, 4,076 emergency Narcan administrations (14.6% increase from 2015) were reported by the Virginia Department of Health. Narcan, also known as Naloxone is a life-saving drug used to stop opioid overdoses
  • More than 10,000 emergency department visits were related to opioid and heroin overdose treatment in 2016.
  • Carfentanil, a synthetic opioid 100 times stronger than fentanyl made its way to Virginia last year, sparking warnings about potential overdoses and the dangers of improper handling. This substance can be absorbed through the skin or can be inhaled through airborne powder, presenting grave danger to anyone exposed.
  • Last year, Dr. Levine issued a statewide standing order  for naxolone that authorizes pharmacists who maintain a current and active license to dispense the overdose drug in an attempt to combat and prevent overdose deaths.

$9.7 Million Will be Divided to Fund Community Services Boards, Prevention Efforts, and Increase Access to Naloxone

Of the total grant, the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, will give $5 million to 18 state-run Community Services Boards (CSBs). These organizations provide behavioral health services to the community. The money will be used primarily to increase access to medication-assisted treatment, which is recognized as the national standard for the treatment of opioid addiction.

Prevention is also a major factor, with the remaining $4.7 million being used to increase community awareness and enhance established coalitions. They will be used to provide support and prevention services to 14 other communities in which residents are at high risk for opioid overdoses.

The DBHDS-sponsored program called REVIVE! has trained about 6,000 residents on how to administer naloxone since 2014. While this drug is available through Dr. Levine’s standing order at any pharmacy in the state, many cannot afford it. Therefore, this grant money will be used to make naxolone more available, more affordable, and provide support to five pilot projects that aim to assist residents who have been treated for an opioid overdose in emergency departments.

Know the Signs of Opiate Addiction, How to Avoid it, and How to Get Help

Signs of Recent Opioid Use
  • Dilated pupils
  • Sleepiness
  • Scratching and “nodding”
Common Signs of Opioid Addiction
  • Constant financial problems
  • History of arrests
  • Track marks and infections from needle use
  • Lying about drug use
  • Irritability
  • Physical withdrawal symptoms such as shaking, dilated pupils, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting

Talking to a Loved One

If you suspect someone you love is struggling with opioid addiction or any type of substance abuse, have a talk with them. Helping a friend or family member get treatment for addiction can mean the difference between life and death.

Disposing of Medications Properly

If you or someone you know has expired or unused prescription medications, proper disposal is essential. Virginia’s local health department provides residents with disposal bags. These unwanted drugs can also be taken to a local law enforcement agency or an authorized pharmacy in your area.

Obtaining Naxolone

Virginia pharmacies can provide you or someone you love with Naloxone to keep on hand for possible overdose emergencies. This drug helps to stop an opioid overdose by blocking the effects of the opioids on the individuals brain and restoring breathing in under 10 minutes. Anyone can access this medication as long as they get a prescription from their doctor or they can visit any participating pharmacy, which will dispense the drug using the standing order issued by Dr. Levine

Get Treatment for Opioid Addiction

At Get Treatment, our goal is to help individuals who struggle with substance abuse and addiction have access to the rehab services they need. Our directory of Virginia addiction treatment centers can help you find a safe and comfortable place to undergo opioid withdrawal treatments, as well as receive counseling and case management services for your opiate addiction.

Our top-rated drug rehab centers provide patients with individualized treatment care plans and support. Don’t wait until it’s too late to get help. Start your journey to recovery today by calling 855-638-9268.


Erica Loret de Mola

Erica Loret de Mola is a communications major who has been writing about addiction treatment for approximately three years. As content manager and editor in chief of Get Treatment, she strives to provide the most accurate and current information available to our clients.


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