Health and Medicine

Overdose Epidemic in Virginia

Jan 26, 2015

An enormous surge in heroin and prescription-drug overdose deaths in Virginia has prompted the Centers for Disease Control to call it an epidemic.  It’s also why state lawmakers of both parties have joined together to advance a multi-faceted package of bills to tackle the challenge.  They believe it’s both a law enforcement AND a public health problem.

 

Virginia’s Chief Medical Examiner reports that every region of the state has seen a spike in heroin overdose fatalities. Attorney General Mark Herring says the data confirm that.

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  On the 42nd anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision that legalized abortion, hundreds of women lobbied Virginia lawmakers in person or by e-mail, asking them to increase access to contraception and repeal the state’s mandatory ultrasound law for women seeking an abortion. 

Earlier this week, they lost one important battle when a senate committee failed to vote on a bill that would have required prescription drug insurance to cover birth control.  Janice Craft-Henry is with NARAL-Pro Choice Virginia.

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Bills that are being introduced in both the Virginia House and Senate could make a trip to the doctor's office less burdensome. While bills sometimes do not have the input of various stakeholders, THIS legislation is strongly supported by doctors and other medical professionals. 

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While four states have legalized marijuana and 17 have eliminated criminal penalties for possession of small amounts, arrests in Virginia are rising.

Photo by Brett Levin, Creative Commons

Marijuana is now legal in four states, the District of Colombia and South Portland, Maine.  It’s been decriminalized in 17 states – among them our neighbors, North Carolina and Maryland. 

So where does that leave Virginia?  Is anyone calling for legal reforms here? 

Jordan McNeish was a bright kid who finished high school early and began taking courses at Piedmont Virginia Community College.  He’d been arrested once for possession of marijuana, paid a fine but spent no time in jail.  Then, in 2009, he was charged with a second offense.

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