Virginia is facing an addiction crisis. There were over 1,000 drug-related deaths in Virginia last year, and drug overdoses surpassed both motor-vehicle related fatalities and gun-related fatalities as the number one cause of unnatural death in 2013. Our mental and behavioral healthcare safety net is inadequate, falling far short of what our most vulnerable citizens deserve. The challenge for Virginia’s next governor will be to strengthen our mental and behavioral health services and address the crisis of drug addiction that is sweeping across every community in every region of our great Commonwealth.
Ed believes there are five guiding principles for combating the opioid epidemic
- Focus on intervention
- Addiction is a disease — not a moral failing
- We cannot arrest our way out of the current epidemic of addiction
- Recognize multiple pathways to recovery
- Help must be immediate
As governor, Ed will fight to:
- Reform funding mechanisms to ensure that existing funds can be rapidly deployed
- Work to expand same day services for recovery from substance use disorders and co-occurring related disorders
- Strive for same day admission to recovery residence, medication assisted detox, admission to inpatient or outpatient treatment
- Develop a coordinated plan to ensure children entering the Foster Care System due to the crisis have appropriate care unique to their needs
- Ensure any Virginians on probation or parole can seek help in obtaining treatment through their probation or parole officer without fear of further prosecution or incarceration.
- Encourage recovery-oriented systems of care (ROCS) through the Department of Corrections and during a prisoner’s reentry to society.
- Encourage the establishment of additional drug courts.
To read Ed’s full Mental Health, Addiction and Recovery Plan, click HERE.