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Virginia attorney general proposes more changes to fight opioid epidemic

Mark Herring released ideas Monday on laws, practices

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – Virginia leaders released more plans Monday for combating the opioid epidemic. Attorney General Mark Herring put forth ideas he hopes will keep Virginia moving in a positive direction, speaking about them Monday in Virginia Beach.

He wants tougher laws on fentanyl, a drug often found in heroin that’s dangerous due to its potency. Jamie Waldrop with Roanoke’s HOPE Initiative said more scrutiny could be beneficial.

“But when you’re buying heroin on the street, you have no clue whether they’re using fentanyl, carfentanil, baby powder," Waldrop said. "They’ve laced it with everything before and you just have no clue what’s in it.”

Herring wants to examine the price of overdose antidotes like naloxone to make sure pharmaceutical companies aren’t charging too much, and he wants to beef up the “good Samaritan” or “safe reporting” law, which came about two years ago to protect people who report overdoses.

“Having that makes it much more accessible to call 911 and have them respond and possibly save a life," Waldrop said.

Herring said medical treatment plans should prioritize strategies that don’t involve prescription opioids and Virginia should look at how to make lower-risk options cost less.

Waldrop said many hospitals are already focusing on offering other options.

“I think people are now offering much more health, less risky options for people, which is a great thing," she said.

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