WATCH: Fighting the Fix

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RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — In just the first half of this year, more than 500 people have died here in Virginia from a prescription painkiller or heroin overdose. Tonight on 8News at 5:30, we’re digging into the opioid crisis that is crippling our community.

We’re talking to addicts, doctors and lawmakers and asking how did this happen? What is Virginia doing to address it? And what help is available?

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Statistics:

  • Half of young people who used heroin got started by abusing prescription opioids.
  • One in fifteen individuals who misuse prescription opioid painkillers will try heroin within 10 years.
  • The number of opioid prescriptions has nearly tripled over the last 25 years, and the United States now accounts for nearly 100 percent of the world’s hydrocodone prescriptions and 81 percent for oxycodone.
  • The number of Americans abusing heroin nearly doubled from 2007 to 2012, with nearly 700,000 now abusing heroin.

In Virginia, abuse and overdose deaths continue to rise:

  • Prescription opioid overdose deaths have risen 44 percent between 2007 and 2015, from 399 deaths to 576.
  • Heroin overdose deaths have risen more than 600 percent between 2010 and 2015, from 48 to 342.
  • Fentanyl deaths have risen 367 percent from 2007 to 2015, from 48 to 224.
  • More than 500 people went to a Virginia emergency room from a heroin overdose in the first four months of 2016, a 250% increase over 2015.

Click here for more from Fighting the Fix.

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