In 2015 there were 52,000 people that lost their lives to heroin and/or opioid overdoses. That accounts for more deaths than car crashes and gun related deaths together. This past year the Governor of Virginia declared this an epidemic and public health crisis. We have lost almost 1,000 citizens to this epidemic in 2016. In Roanoke County alone there EMS reported a total of 30 overdoes calls in 2015, climbing dramatically to 130 overdoes calls in 2016, and as of 2017, EMS reports over 40 calls thus far. No one is immune from this disease and it impacts everyone. With the leadership from the Valleywide Opioid/Heroin Prevention Taskforce (initiated in 2012), the Prevention Council and its partners, Roanoke County Public Schools, Roanoke County Police Department and other community organizations, created a team consisting of Virginia State Police, Federal Magistrate Judge, a young adult in recovery, a parent who had lost their loved one to this epidemic, and school/community resource specialists. Over a two week period, this team covered all four quadrants of the Roanoke County facilitating community conversations about this epidemic. To date, we have reached almost 2,000 individuals, and plans continue to form on taking this education and prevention into all middle and high schools in the county. If you are interesting in hosting an Opioid Community Meeting at your business, church, or organization, please reach out to us using the form at the bottom of the page.
A testimony from Monique Fisher:
“On March 13, 2014, my life changed forever when I found my 19 year old son unresponsive on the bathroom floor. He had lost his battle with drug addiction and I had lost a large part of my heart. I became a member of a club with other parents who wake up every day of their lives with one less child than they had before. Fractures and surgeries stemming from sport’s injuries ultimately lead to an unnecessary amount of prescription pain pills. When the bottles were empty, heroin became the only affordable alternative. He was loving, ambitious and respectful young man striving to keep his life on a straight path but the voices calling him to drug use were much louder. This is why we have to stop whispering and start screaming “Prevention”! We must stop stereotyping and eliminate the stigma associated with drug addiction because addicts look like you and me. Although I could not save my own son’s life, I will work relentlessly to reach out together in an attempt to save theirs. As long as there is breath, there is hope! Nothing is worse than losing a child when your heart is still beating. Prevention is the key to our next generation!”