Central VA heroin crisis gets attention of the Feds

Central VA heroin crisis gets attention of the Feds

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - A man who police say is a known heroin dealer managed to escape from an attempted arrest by smashing into three police cars in Chesterfield. Now the federal government is stepping in to help tackle the local drug crisis.

"We are at epic proportions," said Lt. Jim Profita with the Chesterfield Police Department. "People aren't taking it serious, and they don't understand how life-altering heroin can truly be."

Heroin is claiming the lives of local people at alarming rate, according to Profita.

"We keep seeing double-digit growth in our heroin overdoses, which is highly concerning for the last three or four years," said Profita.

As a matter of fact, for the first time, Profita says more people are dying of opioid overdoses than crash-related accidents.

In 2015, there were 102 heroin overdoses in the county, with 18 fatalities. This year, we're already at 106 overdoses and tied the with the number of fatalities from all of last year.

"This is truly an epidemic," said Profita. "At no point in time have we ever seen this many people dying from opioid-related and heroin-related deaths. Right here in Chesterfield."

That's why police need your help getting alleged heroin dealers like Gary Woodson off the streets, even as they stress those with addictions need outreach, not more time in jail.

"No, you can't arrest your way out of this. These people have serious addiction needs that need to be taken care of," said Profita.

The federal government is now sending $53 million to more than 44 states to tackle the opioid crisis.

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