Virginia’s Opioid Addiction Crisis

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.