Addressing the Opioid Epidemic
Roanoke County, like so much of Southwest Virginia, has been hit hard by the opioid crisis. Substance abuse is a criminal matter, but it’s also a public health crisis, and it's like nothing we've dealt with before.
The 23rd Judicial District has been a leader in Virginia in tackling drug problems head on (both opioids and meth) through Drug Court, the Alpha Program, and the Therapeutic Docket. But as important as these efforts have been, the Roanoke Valley is still in desperate need of better solutions to this crisis, especially in the field of Medically Assisted Treatment (MAT). For too long incarceration (and the threat of incarceration) has been the only tool that we've employed to address this devastating problem. If we could punish and imprison our way out of this problem, we would have done so already. Virginia has the 14th highest rate of incarceration in the nation, and our rate of incarceration has tripled in the last 40 years.
I believe that dealing with the problems of drug addiction in our families and communities is a bipartisan issue. In my work as a criminal defense attorney, I've seen families of every background and income level suffer the devastation caused by the drug addiction of family and loved ones.
I will work to incorporate earlier, more consistent, and more effective treatment; to utilize pre-trial diversion; and to constantly work to refine our approach to the prosecution of opioid cases in order to minimize relapse and reduce the harm to the families of those suffering from drug addiction. Specifically I will advocate for the use of MAT both in our drug courts, in our jails, and during probation.