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 from automobile crashes? 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 to be a public health emergency. This decision was made in collaboration with three Virginia government agencies: the Board of Pharmacy, the Department of Health Professions, and the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services.

As part of its response to the emergency, Virginia issued a standing order that allows anyone to 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:

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 ensuring that Medicaid members can access addiction treatment services and by expanding the number of doctors and other health care providers who offer these treatment services. Learn more about access to Medicaid services.

In addition, Virginia has provided millions of dollars in federal grant funds to communities for their prevention, treatment, and recovery services. For example, the State Opioid Response Grant from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has supported these services for Virginians:

  • Recovery programs at eight colleges
  • Medication-assisted treatment options at all 40 CSBs
  • Expanded Community Coalitions partnerships at all 40 CSBs
  • Treatment programs with the Virginia Department of Corrections and with 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.