ROANOKE, Va. (WFXR)– An American crisis is hitting home. New numbers show Roanoke ranks second in the nation for non-fatal overdoses.
That’s according to new data from the National EMS Information System.
They say the statistics run between March 13th of last year, to March 12th of this year.
“We certainly need more resources and need to make sure Richmond and Washington are helping us here in the valley,” said Roanoke City Delegate, Sam Rasoul.
Delegate Rasoul believes prevention starts with providing more help to those with substance use disorder before it is too late, which is why he is involved with the Catawba Hospital in Roanoke County.
“We started to secure funding from the general assembly to go and build out residential treatment beds, which will be the first in the state, but the vision for the campus would be the first in the nation,” said Delegate Rasoul.
Bedford County’s, Horizon Behavioral Health‘s ‘Outpatient Program Manager,’ Marianne Powell says steps are being taken to lower the number of overdoses in the area.
“The number of treatment providers able to offer Suboxone or medication-assisted treatment has bloomed in the last several years,” said Powell.
She added, there are even ways to combat access to pain medication at home.
“We have lock boxes that people can store medication in. We have drug disposal bags, so that even if you have a little bit of medication left you can dispose of it by pouring it into the water, and it will dissolve it,” said Powell.
Powell says some health providers are making it hard to give patients opioid prescriptions, and refills, which is why she says people have turned back to using street drugs– because they’re easier to access.
Horizon also offers ‘Office Based Addiction Treatment’ (OBAT), where they provide suboxone. More information about this can be found on their website.
This Saturday is ‘National Drug Take Back Day,’ and a number of area police and prevention departments are taking part.
That includes Horizon, which says not only will they take the meds they’re also holding a free revive training, hoping to reduce the risk of accidental and intentional overdoses– and more.
"The effort starts in the home. Safe storage, proper disposal, education, especially among adolescents, young adults, and older adults, is key in preventing overdose deaths due to prescription medications. This initiative would not be possible without the support of community partners who dedicate their time and resources to this valuable effort.”
- MELISSA LUCY, HORIZON CEO
Roanoke City was not the only Virginia locality to make the list.
Portsmouth, Virginia ranked sixth in the nation, and the entire commonwealth was classified as having ‘higher than average” non-fatal overdose rates.
Roanoke City & Alleghany Health District has a complete list of overdose prevention options.
Below is more information on Horizon Behavioral Health’s drug take-back day:
"On Saturday, April 22nd, 2023, from 10:00am to 2:00pm, seven medication drop box locations will be available throughout the community for residents to dispose of expired, unwanted, or unused medications as well as share valuable resources to safeguard their home.
Altavista Police Department, 510 7th Street, Altavista, VA, United States, Virginia
Amelon Hometown Pharmacy, 196 Amelon Square Shopping Center, Amherst VA 24572
The Farmer’s Bank of Appomattox, 169 Old Courthouse Road, Appomattox VA 24522
Tractor Supply Co, 1128 E Lynchburg Salem TPKE, Bedford VA, 24523
The City of Lynchburg
Horizon Behavioral Health, 2215 Langhorne Road, Lynchburg VA 24501
Kroger, 2012 Wards Road, Lynchburg, VA 24502
Kroger, 4119 Boonsboro Road, Lynchburg, VA 24503
-HORIZON BEHAVIORAL HEALTH