Commonwealth’s Attorney Addresses Heroin Overdose Problem in Virginia Beach

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Colin D. Stolle, Commonwealth’s Attorney for the city of Virginia Beach, warns the public about the recent rise in heroin overdose deaths in Hampton Roads, specifically Virginia Beach. According to the Virginia Department of Health - Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, Virginia Beach claimed 52% of the heroin overdose deaths in the entire Hampton Roads area in 2013, with a total of 24 deaths.   Further statistics show that heroin overdose deaths have increased by 136% in Virginia in the past decade. 

Studies reviewed by Stolle show that many heroin users resort to it after becoming addicted to prescription drugs. “When the prescriptions for legitimate medical issues run out and addicts cannot get ahold of more from a physician, they often turn to heroin because it is cheaper and can be bought on the streets,” Stolle said.  “Much of the heroin in Hampton Roads is being laced with other drugs such as fentanyl, which is much more dangerous. The combination is fatal with just one use.”


In an effort to inform the public of the seriousness of this epidemic, Virginia Beach’s Multimedia Services Division worked with the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s Office and School Board Member Carolyn Weems to produce a 30-second public service announcement. In the PSA, Weems describes the tragic loss of her daughter to a heroin overdose.  Weems and Stolle implore heroin users and their loved ones to seek help now, before it is too late. 


Help is available 24/7 at the Virginia Beach Department of Human Services Emergency Services hotline by calling 385-0888.  Those who are experiencing a medical emergency should always call 911.


 “A lot of citizens, addicts and families are in denial,” Weems said.   “The drugs change your brain and cause you not to be able to make good choices.  Please get help now, before it’s too late.”


Please contact Macie Pridgen if additional information is desired.