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Virginia Law Enforcement and Community Members Combat Rising Heroin Cases

A community stakeholder's meeting was held to address the region's severe number of heroin-related deaths and injuries. A local mother of a heroin victim spoke out on losing her son.
WARREN COUNTY, Va. - A discouraging spike of heroin abuse has found its way in the Winchester-Front Royal area with over ten deaths listed from January to November 2013, ages ranging from 19 to 49.
To tackle the surge of these heroin cases, the Northwest Virginia Law Enforcement and United States Attorney, Timothy Heaphy, gathered community members to discuss a treatment and preventative plan.
One mother lost her son in August 2013 from heroin addiction, and she shared her story on the struggles she is now dealing with from the loss.
"I know that each day is a process, and I've been going through depression, and sleepless nights and flashbacks," says Teresa Nelson, mother of heroin victim.
While the addiction happens anywhere, Northern Virginia has seen a disturbing number of emergency room visits from overdoses.
"They start with other drugs, most particularly prescription drugs. We've had a big problem with the addiction to pain killers, oxycodone, vicotin," says Timothy Heaphy, U.S. Attorney of the Western District of Virginia.
Recently, Heaphy said the stereotype for heroin to find older aged people has gone out the door. In fact, younger people seek out the drug as well, and it has even targeted the rich and poor.
"We are also very close to a major source city and that's Baltimore. The pattern that we've seen is people going from Baltimore and very easily purchasing wholesale quantities of heroin, bring it back and re-sell it at a profit," adds Heaphy.
It is the first time officials met together to address the region's alarming increase in heroin usage.
It is a move that will eventually take a burden of Nelson's shoulder, helping her move on one day at a time.
"I'm walking today feeling hopeful and I'm feeling like a little less helpless," adds Nelson.
Heaphy said there will be more upcoming meetings to follow up on the progress of addressing heroin usage.
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