Jill Vogel Announces Plan to Fight Opioid Abuse and Improve Mental Health Services

July 11, 2017

Jill Vogel Announces Plan to Fight Opioid Abuse and Improve Mental Health Services

Joins Gillespie and Adams in unveiling policy solutions to save lives, fight addiction, and help sufferers seek hope through recovery programs

FAIRFAX, VA – This morning, Jill Vogel, candidate for Lieutenant Governor, joined her running mates Ed Gillespie and John Adams in releasing a comprehensive plan to tackle Virginia’s epidemic of opioid abuse at a Tuesday morning roundtable listening session held with a number of stakeholders and families who have personally suffered.

Speaking with those affected, Vogel and her running mates expressed their commitment to taking the bold, swift action needed to save lives and bring this crisis under control.

“With opioid overdoses claiming more lives than car accidents, the time for action is now,” explained Jill Vogel. “Our policy approach strengthens Virginia’s commitment to preventing abuse and overdoses while unveiling new treatment and recovery programs to help those suffering from addiction get their lives back on track.”

In Virginia’s Senate, Vogel has worked on a number of bills to fight the opioid crisis. This year, her bill banning a dangerous synthetic opioid eight times stronger than heroin was signed into law, as was a bill expanding naloxone availability and training to help save lives by reversing overdoses. In 2012, legislation she worked on expanding reporting requirements for drug-exposed infants was also passed and signed into law.

In 2016, Vogel introduced the Behavioral Health Docket Act to reform the criminal justice system by helping accused nonviolent offenders suffering drug addiction or mental health issues receive treatment for the underlying condition which motivated the offense.

The bold new policy approach unveiled today begins with a recognition that arresting opioid addicts will not solve the problem, because scientific research demonstrates that addiction is a disease with a biological basis, not a moral failing.

In response, the plan calls for a focus on intervention, from implementing evidence-based addiction prevention programs in public schools, to dedicating new funding to more effective treatment programs offering a same-day response to those seeking help.

Under the plan, Virginia’s leaders will work with health insurance companies to ensure treatment services are covered, while making sure quality resources also exist for the many addicts who lack access to health care, and expanding the use of medication-assisted treatment for those who did not find success in a conventional program.

This new approach also reforms Virginia’s criminal justice system. By expanding drug courts, nonviolent offenders will have a chance to treat their underlying addiction instead of facing jail time. Other reforms allow those on probation to seek treatment through their probation officer, without fear that asking for help could lead to more charges.

“We can’t arrest our way out of this problem,” added Vogel. “By focusing on evidence-based prevention, treatment, and innovative diversion programs, we can save lives and help more Virginians find new beginnings through the road to recovery.”

You may read the full plan by clicking here.