RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — Attorney General Mark R. Herring announced Monday morning the relaunching of www.HardestHitVA.com as a one-stop shop for prevention and educational materials on Virginia’s heroin and prescription drug abuse crisis, as well as a treatment resource locator to help Virginians and their families connect with treatment resources in their community.
The relaunched www.HardestHitVA.com will host Attorney General Herring’s award-winning documentary “Heroin: The Hardest Hit,” which features Virginians telling their own stories of addiction, overdose and recovery, including testimony from parents who lost their children to an overdose, Virginians in long-term recovery, and law enforcement and healthcare professionals working to address the problem.
“I’ve heard from so many parents who once they discovered their child, their son or daughter was struggling with an addiction. They didn’t know where to turn,” Herring told 8News. “It’s really tragic and has reached epidemic proportions.”
“It’s really tragic and has reached epidemic proportions.” — AG Herring
“Nearly 1,000 Virginians died of a heroin or opioid overdose last year and this year is on pace to be even deadlier. That means more loss and more heartbreak for too many Virginia families. When we started thinking about tools we could bring to this fight against heroin and prescription drug abuse, we knew that education and prevention had to be priorities right alongside enforcement and legislation,” said Attorney General Herring.
“Heroin: The Hardest Hit and the new HardestHitVA.com are the centerpieces of our education and prevention efforts, providing really compelling and effective messages to young people about the dangers of heroin and prescription drug abuse and just how quickly these powerful drugs can take over your life. I will forever be grateful to the Virginians who shared their stories with us for the documentary, especially the parents who let us meet their children who sadly lost their fight with opioids. If this film breaks through in the minds of young Virginians, it’s because of all the men and women who were willing to share their stories and turn tragedy and heartbreak into resolve and action. This fight isn’t over by any means, and we’re going to keep pushing until we get the problem turned around.”
The new, centralized website will make it even easier for schools, families, community organizations, faith-based organizations, sports teams, and others to share the video with young people in their lives and with anyone who wants to better understand the scale of the heroin and opioid epidemic and its impact on Virginians, according to Herring.
The site will also feature more in-depth interviews with affected families, people in long-term recovery, and healthcare and law enforcement professionals, as well as facts and figures about the scale of the problem and who it affects.
Herring says because treatment and recovery resources must be a key part of turning the opioid crisis around, the new www.HardestHitVA.com includes a searchable database of recovery and treatment resources in every community in the Commonwealth.
“We’re fighting a stigma that causes too many people to suffer in silence and never get the help they really need. I hear so often from families that when their son or daughter developed a problem with heroin or prescription drugs they felt powerless and didn’t know where to turn for help,” said Attorney General Herring. “I hope that anyone who is struggling themselves, or who has a friend or family member fighting a substance abuse disorder, will visit the site and try to get connected to recovery and treatment resources in their area. There is an incredible community of caring, dedicated individuals that want to support their fellow Virginians and help them lead healthy, drug-free lives. We have to make sure that Virginians in every corner of the Commonwealth know that there is help, there is life after an addiction, and there is hope in recovery.”
Herring and the McShin Foundation will host a special one-year anniversary screening of “Heroin: The Hardest Hit” Monday night, which will feature opening remarks from Herring, a screening of the film, and a post-screening panel discussion with Virginians featured in the film discussing where they are one year later and their perspective on the ongoing crisis of substance abuse disorder.
The event will begin at 6 p.m. at the McShin Foundation located at 2300 Dumbarton Road in Richmond.