City Council hearing briefing on opioid and drug abuse in Roanoke

ROANOKE, Va.- – There were 40 per 100,000 deaths related to opioids in Roanoke City last year. City leaders are learning how to handle the crisis. City Manager Bob Cowell gave a briefing regarding the city's response to opioid and drug abuse in the community.

He noted the issue can lead to Hepatitis C and other types of contagious diseases and more criminal activity. He recommends the local government work with public health, law enforcement officials and the Roanoke Valley Collective Response to combat opioids from gaining momentum in the city. 

"Fortunately this year has kind of leveled a little bit. But the last two years it continued to increase in Roanoke city as well as  Roanoke County and in Salem just like it has across the commonwealth. The key thing is for us first to remember is that this is an increasing issue that we have to pay attention to and the cost associated with it," said Bob Cowell. 

Cowell plans to have another presentation next month on other ways the council can find solutions to the epidemic locally.