County Opioid Response
The Opioid Crisis
In 2020, more than 100,000 people died from a drug overdose. The opioid epidemic started in the 1990's with the over-prescribing of opioid medications. Over time the epidemic moved away from prescription opioids and shifted to heroin and fentanyl. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is the now main driver of the opioid overdose crisis.
Chesterfield County offers a variety of services to help combat the opioid epidemic:
- Certified Peer Recovery Specialists
- Chesterfield County Circuit Court: Drug Court
- Child and Adolescent Services
- Community Corrections Programs: Dual Treatment Track, Center Of Risk Reduction
- Fire and EMS - Mobile Integrated Health Unit (overdose follow up)
- Jail Services
- Medication Assisted Treatment Services
- Opioid Solutions RVA
- Outpatient Services
- Narcan - REVIVE!
- Prevention Services
- Safe Storage and Disposal
For more information, email the substance use outreach coordinator.
Overdose deaths have been on the rise. Opioids are a major factor, but we also know that many people use more than one drug at a time. This is called poly-substance use and is another major factor in the increase in overdoses.
Overdose prevention involves preventing drug use, providing treatment to those who want it, offering harm reduction, and providing recovery support. In Chesterfield County, we offer training on how to use Narcan (naloxone) a medication that can save a life during an opioid overdose. This life-saving medication is available for free.
Substance use disorder is preventable. Part of preventing a substance use disorder is knowing your personal risk factors for addiction. There are many factors that make up risk - early first use of drugs, parental addiction, trauma exposure, and drug availability are some examples. There are also factors that can help avoid a substance use disorder called protective factors. These are things like strong family or community ties, access to physical and mental healthcare, and strong community resources, like community centers.
Stigma and Substance Use Disorder
Addiction (substance use disorder) can happen to anyone. It is not a moral failing, but instead a chronic brain disorder. Substance Use Disorder (SUD) is treatable and people can and do recover.
One barrier to accessing treatment is stigma. People with a substance use disorder are often viewed poorly and treated badly the people and systems the interact with. We know this has devastating impacts and can lead to people not receiving the care they need.
We can help reduce stigma by talking about substance use disorder in our families and communities and by using person first language. Research tells us that the words we choose when talking about substance use or mental health matter. When we use first person language we can break down stigma.
Recovery from substance use disorder is possible. People now have a variety of treatment options to help them recover from substance use disorder.
Substance Use Steering Committee
The Substance Use Steering Committee was established in fall 2017 (as the Opioid Steering Committee) to address the heroin and opioid crisis in Chesterfield County as it, along with its neighbors regionally, was seeing an increase in deaths and overdoses. Through inter-departmental collaboration and communication we working to better serve Chesterfield County residents.
The Steering Committee is led by the assistant county administrator for human services and is represented by all county departments who touched this issue, including:
- Chesterfield County Fire and EMS
- Chesterfield County Police
- Chesterfield County Public Schools
- Chesterfield County Sheriff’s Office
- Commonwealth’s Attorney
- Communications and Media
- Community Corrections
- County Attorney’s Office
- Drug Court
- Information Systems Technology
- Mental Health Support Services
- Substance Abuse Free Environment (SAFE) Coalition
- Social Services
- Virginia Department of Health - Chesterfield District