Report: Drug overdose deaths increased in Virginia from 2015 to 2016

BRISTOL (WJHL) – Virginia health officials said fatal drug overdoses increased dramatically in the Commonwealth from 2015 to 2016.

A state report said those deaths topped 1,400 last year.

That’s a 38 percent increase from 2015.

A state report also said there was a 175 percent increase in deaths from varieties of the pain medication Fentanyl.

State Health Commissioner Marissa Levine declared a public health emergency in November, and classified opioid addiction as an epidemic in the state.

U.S. Senator Tim Kaine was in Bristol on Friday and told us cutting off the epidemic will not be easy.

“I think their challenge in the opioid problem, the reason it grew so big, I don’t know of another drug addiction problem like this,” Kaine said. “It started with a person of trust writing a person a prescription.”

Commissioner Levine issued an order in November allowing any Virginia resident to get an overdose treatment drug from a pharmacy.

Copyright 2017 WJHL. All rights reserved.

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