A Crisis of Addiction

In 2014 Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe convened a Task Force on Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse to address the crisis in opioid addiction and overdose that the Commonwealth ­– and indeed, our entire country – is facing. More Virginians now die every year from an overdose than in automobile accidents, and nationally there is an overdose death every 20 minutes.

Opioid Deaths in Virginia

VaAware is a collaboration among four Virginia agencies, the Department of Health, Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, Department of Criminal Justice Services, and Department of Health Professions.

Here you will find information of where to find treatment if you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, access to resources in your part of Virginia, and the latest research and data on this crisis.

Information for Practitioners, which includes information on prescribing, pain management, addiction and continuing education opportunities.

There is also a section For Law Enforcement, recognizing the key roles our law enforcement agencies play in this crisis, such as being first responders to an overdose, and their ability to offer convenient disposal options for Virginians.

Thank you for taking the time to visit VaAware. Working together we will find ways to end the tragedy of opioid overdose deaths.

Virginia’s Opioid Addiction Crisis: A Public Health Emergency

On Monday, November 21, 2016, in collaboration and consultation with the Virginia Board of Pharmacy, Department of Health Professions and Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, State Health Commissioner Dr. Marissa J. Levine declared the Virginia opioid addiction crisis a public health emergency. The declaration came in response to the growing number of overdoses attributed to opioid use, and evidence that Carfentanil, a highly dangerous synthetic opioid used to sedate large animals such as elephants, has made its way into Virginia. In response to the Public Health Emergency, Dr. Levine has issued a standing order that allows all Virginians to obtain the drug Naloxone that is used to treat narcotic overdoses in emergency situations.  The standing order serves as a prescription written for the general public, and removes a potential barrier to access to naloxone.

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