RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe announced on Tuesday, Nov. 1, the launch of www.VaAware.com, a new website developed as an informational tool for Virginia’s fight against prescription drug and heroin abuse in Virginia. As a recommendation of the Governor’s Task Force on Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse in Virginia, VaAware.com features specific pages for parents, health-care providers, law enforcement members and those seeking help with addiction. Virginia is actively working to combat this epidemic, as more than half of the recommendations made by the Governor’s opioid task force have already been or are currently being implemented.
“This website is an important tool to help those struggling with addiction and their family members find resources available in Virginia, and to provide a resource to health care and public safety professionals seeking the latest information in our efforts to end this epidemic,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Deaths from prescription drug overdoses doubled in Virginia over the past 15 years, while heroin-related deaths tripled from 2011 to 2015. We must all do our part to bring positive change to the lives of Virginians battling substance abuse, and I am proud of our state agencies for their teamwork and dedication to this important initiative.”
“As we continue to fight the epidemic of heroin and prescription opioid addiction, it is important to have a central web presence where people can find resources and information to get help for themselves or loved ones, and where health and law enforcement professionals can find guidance as well,” said Secretary of Health and Human Resources Dr. Bill Hazel. “It is hard enough to take the first step to find help, but by providing information online in an easily-accessible format, we can make it easier for people to take that step any hour of the day or night.”
“Our duty as public officials is to bring all the key stakeholders to the table and develop effective solutions,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “This website will prove to be a useful tool for the law enforcement community as we collectively and cohesively combat the heroin and prescription opioid epidemic.”
The website is the result of collaboration between four Virginia agencies: the Department of Health Professions, the Virginia Department of Health, the Department of Criminal Justice Services, and the Department of Behavioral Health and Development Services. The site is hosted and maintained by the Department of Health Professions.
“We are happy to support this important resource as Virginia fights the opioid epidemic,” said Department of Health Professions Director David Brown. “The website will also be useful for health professionals, with best practices, guidelines and continuing education links on pain management, addiction and proper prescribing of opioids.”
Resources and informational materials found on the site are aimed at addressing the opioid and heroin crisis throughout the Commonwealth, and are available for download here.