Attorney General Herring works to fight Commonwealth's growing h - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Attorney General Herring works to fight Commonwealth's growing heroin epidemic

Attorney General Mark Herring (Source: NBC12) Attorney General Mark Herring (Source: NBC12)

The best tool in the fight against Virginia's growing heroin epidemic can be found in a syringe. It's a drug that can bring addicts back from the brink of death

The issue is getting it into the right hands so it can save lives. Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring is now hitting the streets to make sure that happens.

“Literally, minutes matter. And being able to administer the drug on the scene, makes all the difference, in order to save their lives,” Herring said.

The drug is Naloxone, an overdose antidote that first responders say, brings people back from near death.

In the past 24 hours alone, Richmond EMTs used naloxone five times, saving five lives here in the capital city. Figures show the average age of a Naloxone recipient is 34 year-old.

"The stereotypical user you might have thought might have been out there, if it was ever true, it's not true today," Herring remarked.

Now, the drug is available at all CVS/pharmacy stores across Virginia, and people who call 911 to report serious cases won't get in trouble. Both of those changes to Virginia law all coming under Herring's watch.

"What it does for me is re-enforce the need for an all hands on deck response," he said. "The entire community needs to be engaged in this."

Most the cases are concentrated around Church Hill and the Northside. Figures from 2015 shows the drug, even when it wasn't as widely available, saved 398 people in Richmond.

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