If you think someone is overdosing, call 911 immediately. Learn more about the signs of overdose.

Virginia’s Crisis Response

Did you know that more Virginians die every year from overdoses than in automobile accidents? The opioid crisis is hitting the entire country — including Virginia. Awareness and education are two of the best defenses against opioid misuse and overdose. The journey away from opioid misuse starts one step at a time.

Virginia’s Response to the Crisis

In 2016, the state health commissioner declared the Virginia opioid crisis a public health emergency, a decision made in collaboration with the Virginia Board of Pharmacy, Department of Health Professions, and Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

As part of its response, Virginia has issued a standing order that allows anyone to easily obtain naloxone, a prescription medication that can reverse the effects of opioid and heroin overdose and restore breathing in minutes. Virginians can access naloxone by:

  • Requesting it from any pharmacy in the state
  • Asking for a prescription for it from a doctor
  • Obtaining it from Virginia’s local health departments and select Community Services Boards (CSBs) at no cost (call your local agency to check for availability)

Virginia offers free trainings across the state on how to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose using naloxone. REVIVE!, an opioid overdose and naloxone education program, takes as little as 10 minutes.

Virginia is also helping people overcome financial barriers to treatment by taking actions such as ensuring that Medicaid members can gain access to addiction treatment services and expanding the number of doctors and other health care providers who offer these treatment services. For more information about access to Medicaid services, please click here.

In addition, Virginia has provided millions of dollars in federal grant funds to various communities for their prevention, treatment, and recovery services. Among such support is the State Opioid Response Grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, which has led to these greater services for Virginians:

  • Collegiate recovery programs in eight colleges
  • Medication-assisted treatment options in all 40 CSBs
  • Expanded Community Coalition partnerships in all 40 CSBs
  • Treatment programs with the state Department of Corrections, regional, and local jails
  • Enhanced awareness and availability of prescription drug storage and disposal methods


How You Can Help

Want to get involved? Volunteering with a Community Coalition is a great way to join with others to make an impact. Check out the Community Coalitions of Virginia to connect with a coalition in your area.