The Task Force’s law enforcement workgroup confirmed that “we cannot arrest our way out of this problem.” As such, law enforcement needs access to training and tools to end the costly cycle of incarceration without compromising public safety. One such tool was House Bill 1458 which expanded access to naloxone to prevent death by overdose. For more information about Opioid Overdose and Naloxone Education- visit the REVIVE website. Another tool the task force identified for law enforcement was the Office of the Attorney General’s guide to Hosting A Successful Prescription Drug Take-Back Event. Updated in 2015, this document details the need for drug take backs and navigates communities and law enforcement on how to set up and properly facilitate a drug take back event. One other outcome for law enforcement to note is the passage of Senate bill 892 which establishes an affirmative defense for individuals who remains at the scene of an overdose and cooperates with law enforcement. In October 2016, the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services published the Report of the Health and Criminal Justice Data Committee which provides a multidisciplinary perspective on issues that impact both the health and criminal justice spheres.
This section of the website will provide law enforcement with facts about opioid abuse, resources for law enforcement, and news regarding opioids and law enforcement.
As shown in the graph below, in 2000, motor vehicle deaths were more than double that of fatal drug. However, by 2014, there were almost 40% more deaths from overdoses than car crashed.
According to CDC data, opioids and heroin killed almost 30,000 in 2014, more than any year on record. Since 1999, the rate of drug overdoses involving prescription opioids has quadrupled. In that same time period, the amount of prescription opioids sold in the US also quadrupled, with no change in the amount of pain reported by Americans.
While the causes of these staggering numbers are perplexing, one thing is for certain- neither age nor race is exempt from the problem. It is an issue that affects every community in America.