Virginia grappling with rise of heroin, opioid deaths

NORFOLK, Va. (AP) — Virginia officials are struggling with a continued rise in the number of heroin and prescription opioid deaths.

The Virginian Pilot reports that the state is on pace to have more than 850 such deaths in 2015. That would be up 9 percent from last year.

Rosie Hobron, who tracks the deaths for the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office, says she expects that number to grow to more than 1,000 in 2016.

Jennifer Lee, deputy secretary of health and human resources, says it will take time to see some the impacts of the work that Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s administration is doing to curb drug overdose deaths.

A governor’s task force on the issue is recommending several steps, including requiring doctors to be trained in how to prescribe opioids.

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