New Day Recovery and Behavioral Health Director of Southwest Virginia Community Health Systems, Marcy Rosenbaum attended Virginia Governor Ralph Northam’s Advisory Commission on Opioids and Addiction on Friday, September 28, 2018 in Richmond, Va.
According to reports from Governor’s Northam’s Executive Report, drug overdoses have been the leading cause of accidental death in the Commonwealth of Virginia since 2013. Over 1,500 individuals have died in Virginia as a result of overdoses in the past year with 80% of them involving prescription opioid painkillers, heroin, or synthetic opioids like fentanyl.
The Opioid and Addiction Commission will serve in a consultative role and will provide guidance on the following initiatives:
- Building the capacity of Virginia’s communities to address the addiction epidemic through community mobilization and coalition development;
- Limiting availability of prescription opioids for misuse;
- Establishing pathways to treatment and recovery supports in Virginia;
- Establishing operational comprehensive harm reduction programs in Virginia; and
- Developing model protocols for Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) for individuals being released from correctional settings that local/regional jails and community services boards can use.
Rosenbaum said that at the Advisory Commission meeting, the group heard presentations from the Governor’s Executive Leadership Team on Opioids and Addiction workgroups.
The workgroups include prevention, harm reduction, supply prevention, justice, and treatment and recovery. The opioid crisis is a complex issue affecting several arenas of community resources. Governor Northam has taken a comprehensive approach by tasking these resources to work actively on their own fronts and collectively to tackle the devastating disease of addiction.
The Harm Reduction workgroup presentation indicated concern about communities’ reluctance to approve and implement harm reduction efforts that can improve both health and safety.
Rosenbaum said, “I responded to the Leadership Team by highlighting the community work done in Smyth County with the new Harm Reduction program, Recovery Court, Treatment options, and collaborative efforts of our own resources including Smyth County Hospital, Southwest Virginia Community Health Systems, Mount Rogers CSB, Law Enforcement, Schools, Department of Health, Pastoral community and others.”
The next meeting will be in December.