'Barbershop talks' to tackle heroin epidemic in Richmond

Published: Nov. 2, 2016 at 2:30 AM EDT|Updated: Nov. 2, 2016 at 11:59 AM EDT
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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - A radio personality is teaming up with a former heroin addict to tackle the heroin epidemic in Richmond. They are launching a Barbershop Talks series aimed at allowing residents to talk candidly about the growing problem.

The news comes as Gov. Terry McAuliffe announces a new weapon in the fight against opioid drug addiction.

The state has launched a new website with resources for families struggling with addiction. The website is VaAware.com. The reason for it -- deaths from prescription drug overdoses doubled in Virginia over the past 15 years.

Also, heroin-related deaths tripled from 2011 to 2015.

Community Clovia is teaming up with a former heroin addict, Jerry Lee, to host barbershop talks.

"I want to do all I can in the community, but I know I need my army of all of my soldiers," said Community Clovia. "Jerry Lee is at the forefront. He's the general."

Lee says he started using heroin when he was 16 years old. Lee's addiction landed him behind bars at 23 years old. He was just released from prison and is now 46.

"Society just doesn't get it," said Lee. "The end result is you either die or you are going to prison."

The next barbershop talk will be on Nov. 18 and will be Tony's Barber Shop on Byron Street in Richmond.

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