Combating the Heroin and Opioid Epidemic

Attorney General Herring has been recognized as one of Virginia’s foremost authorities in responding to the heroin and opioid crisis that is touching so many families in Virginia and around the country. Because he understands that we can’t just arrest our way out of this problem, he has relentlessly pursued a comprehensive strategy that emphasizes education, prevention, and treatment alongside enforcement against dealers and traffickers who profit off addiction.

Attorney General Herring launched an unprecedented five-point plan to address the crisis which includes legislation, education, prevention, enforcement, and collaboration. He was recognized with the “Bronze Key Award” from the McShin Foundation for his commitment and effectiveness in addressing substance abuse.

Attorney General Herring and his team have been relentless in cracking down on the dealers and traffickers who profit off addiction and threaten Virginians’ lives. He and his team have prosecuted more than 75 cases against heroin dealers and traffickers involving more than 375 pounds of heroin and fentanyl, which is about 1.69 million doses worth about $17 million on the streets.

Because education and prevention are key to solving the problem, Attorney General Herring created “Heroin: The Hardest Hit,” an award-winning documentary and a companion website www.HardestHitVA.com which serves as a one-stop shop for education and prevention materials. The film is now mandatory viewing in health education classes around the state, and the office is even educating middle schoolers on the dangers of heroin and prescription drug abuse.

The General Assembly passed two lifesaving pieces of legislation brought forward by Attorney General Herring, one to make Naloxone, a lifesaving overdose reversal drug, available without a prescription and available to all law enforcement officers and first responders, and one to create the state’s first “Good Samaritan” safe reporting law to encourage people in the presence of an overdose to call 911. Those two measures have saved thousands of lives since their enactment. This year, he helped expand Naloxone access to community organizations and nonprofits.

Attorney General Herring secured the donation of more than 80,000 drug disposal kits to get unused prescriptions out of medicine cabinets before they can be abused. He has partnered with the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District to create the Hampton Roads Heroin Work Group, and he and his team are active members of multiple heroin task forces around the state.