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Virginia, officially the Commonwealth of Virginia is the state located in the South Atlantic region of the U.S. The capital of Virginia is Richmond, with Virginia Beach being its most populated city. The state is home to over eight million residents, with the center of population located in Goochland County just outside of its capital. Whites comprise the vast majority of the population, with African Americans being the states largest minority at about 20%. History tells us that most African Americans in Virginia descend from Black slaves who worked plantations in the region. Virginia is also home to eight Native American tribes, mostly located in the Tidewater region of the state. Hispanics and Latinos comprise 8.2% of the population, and Asians 5.8%.

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This week's topic is:

Virginia Drug Use Trends

Known for the Blue Ridge Mountains and Chesapeake Bay, the Commonwealth of Virginia is home to 8,326,289 residents (2014 census). Over the years the state's economy has diversified from agricultural to federal agencies such as the Department of Defense and CIA as well as industry; computer chips are the state's leading export since 2002. While many residents lead healthy, productive lives there are those who struggle with alcoholism and drug addiction throughout the state. The Office of Substance Abuse Services is responsible for planning, developing, directing, funding and monitoring the delivery of comprehensive drug and alcohol abuse services throughout Virginia. By evaluating the data reported to the organization they are able to generate integrated substance abuse treatment programs that support resident's recovery needs. Additionally, their efforts work towards empowering Virginia drug rehab programs to reduce and prevent the negative effects of substance abuse on the resident, their families and the state of Virginia as a whole.

  • During 2013, over 25,000 individuals enrolled in Virginia drug rehab programs.
  • The primary drug of addiction citied during Virginia drug rehab admissions was marijuana; 22.1% of all enrollments into Virginia drug rehab programs during 2013 were for marijuana addiction.
  • 20% of Virginia alcohol and drug rehab enrollments stated their reason for treatment was addiction to alcohol with a secondary substance during 2013.
  • The largest age group to enroll in Virginia drug addiction treatment during 2013 was between the ages of 26-30 years old.
  • Heroin addiction and prescription drug addiction continues to be a problem for residents in Virginia. In 2013, Virginia drug rehabs enrolled 2,649 individuals for prescription drug addiction and 2,399 individuals for heroin addiction treatment.

The creation of the Virginia State Police Drug Diversion Unit has effectively reduced the pharmaceutical drug diversion problem throughout the state. The focus of this program is on eliminating the prescription drug problem in Virginia by exposing the diversion of legitimate prescription medications for illicit purposes. Physicians who find their prescription pad has been stolen, changes to their prescriptions have taken place and/or the illegal use of their name or DEA number to obtain false prescriptions can reach out to the Drug Diversion Unit for support. The agency will generate an alert with all the necessary information to inform pharmacies in the physician's surrounding area to the potential diversion of prescription medication.

In 2004 Virginia adopted the Drug Treatment Court Act. The purpose of this act is to reduce the incidence of drug use, drug addiction, family separation due to parental substance abuse and drug-related crimes. Since its creation the Drug Treatment Court Act has effectively enhanced Virginia resident's public safety through the development of drug treatment courts. By 2010, thirty drug treatment court programs were in existence helping Virginia residents address and overcome their alcohol and drug addiction problems. Virginia Drug Treatment Courts have successfully achieved their mission of providing " a judicially-supervised, cost effective, collaborative approach for handling court-involved individuals with substance use disorders that promotes public safety, ensures accountability, and transforms participants into productive members of the community."

Virginia Drug Rehab

With over one-hundred and eighteen drug rehab programs located throughout Virginia, residents have access to a wide variety of treatment options and methods of recovery. There are support groups, addiction counseling and outpatient treatment for residents seeking addiction rehabilitation services that do not involve living at the rehab center. These less intensive types of support provide limited guidance while the individual attends the meeting or clinic while allowing them to continue with most aspects of their daily lives. Ideal for residents who have a brief history of substance abuse or who have been through more intensive forms of treatment before, these types of programs are unable to help individuals struggling with severe addiction issues or those requiring medical detoxification for their withdrawal symptoms.

Inpatient residential drug rehab programs in Virginia provide residents with a number of benefits they won't find in outpatient treatment, addiction counseling or support groups. While each program is different and runs for varying lengths of time the general benefits of attending an inpatient residential drug rehab include:

  • around the clock support and guidance during one's time residing in the drug rehab
  • withdrawal and detoxification services
  • addiction counseling
  • drug and alcohol education
  • developing skills to remain alcohol and drug-free
  • relapse prevention education, and aftercare services

When theses rehabilitation services are combined residents have the highest chances of successfully overcoming their addiction and restoring their lives.

Population in Virginia:7,567,465
State Prison Population in Virginia:35,564
Probation Population in Virginia:43,470
Violent Crime Rate in Virginia:
National Ranking:35
2007 Federal Drug Seizures in Virginia:
Cocaine seizures in Virginia:59.3 kgs.
Heroin seizures in Virginia:2.5 kgs.
Methamphetamine seizures in Virginia:10.4 kgs.
Marijuana seizures in Virginia:173.8 kgs.
Hashish seizures in Virginia:0.0 kgs.
MDMA seizures in Virginia:0.0 kgs./2,283 du
Meth Lab Incidents in Virginia:22
(DEA, Virginia, and local city Law Enforcement)
Drug Situation in Virginia:
  • The mid-Atlantic region has traditionally served as a thoroughfare for drugs, drug-related proceeds, weapons, and other contraband traveling along the east coast of the United States. Virginia cities situated along Interstate-95 are vulnerable to "spillover" drug distribution from traffickers moving between the two major eastern drug importation hubs of New York City and Miami.
  • Cocaine, crack cocaine, and the violence that comes with the trafficking of these drugs are the most significant drug problem in Virginia, according to most law enforcement sources.
  • Clandestine methamphetamine laboratories also remain a problem in Virginia, and Mexican trafficking organizations are making good headway in the cocaine, methamphetamine, and marijuana distribution markets in nearly every part of Virginia.

  • Cocaine in both powder and crack forms is prevalent throughout Virginia, in both wholesale and retail amounts.
  • The escalating levels of violence continue to be associated with the crack cocaine trade in urban areas of Virginia.
  • Colombian and Dominican drug trafficking organizations in New York City supply much of the cocaine found in Virginia, but many local traffickers are increasingly reliant on Mexican sources of supply in the southwestern U.S., North Carolina, and Georgia.
  • During part of 2007, reduced cocaine availability and higher prices brought to light a cocaine shortage in the Richmond area of Virginia, as there was in other parts of the country.

  • The Richmond and Tidewater areas of Virginia host a consistent, long-term heroin abuse population.
  • Portsmouth particularly has become known as a heroin source for the Tidewater area of Virginia.
  • Pockets of heroin distribution are evident in other areas of Virginia as well, but the problem is less pronounced.
  • The majority of the heroin encountered in Virginia tends to be of higher-than-average purity.
  • In the Norfolk area of Virginia, heroin is packaged primarily in gelatin capsules, while in other areas of the state it is packaged in small, usually colored, or marked Ziploc baggies.

  • Local clandestine manufacture of methamphetamine, which was increasing in Virginia, has now been decreasing due to the passage of state and Federal laws regulating precursors.
  • Most lab activity in Virginia is centered on the far southwestern corner of the state bordering West Virginia, North Carolina, and Kentucky.
  • The Shenandoah Valley region of Virginia hosts the highest percentage of methamphetamine abusers in the state, and was the first area of Virginia to receive a huge influx of Mexican immigrants, whose presence encouraged an expansion of existing Mexican drug-trafficking networks.
  • In rave and nightclub locales in Virginia, both "ice" and methamphetamine have become drugs of choice.
  • There were 22 meth lab incidents in Virginia in 2007.

  • Out of all of the club drugs widely abused and available within Virginia, MDMA (Ecstacy) is by far the easiest to obtain and most in demand.
  • GHB and Ketamine are also readily available in Virginia but unlike MDMA, seem to remain within the nightclub/rave community.
  • Hallucinogenic and stimulant drugs, such as the piperazines, psilocybin mushrooms, LSD, and PCP are available in Virginia. The abuse of these drugs are exhibited in cyclical patterns or be limited to particular venues and/or events.

  • Marijuana is the most widely abused drug in the state of Virginia.
  • The majority of the marijuana available in Virginia is commercial grade product, imported from Mexico and transported through the southwestern U.S.
  • High-grade marijuana, often transported from Canada, is also available in Virginia.
  • Outdoor marijuana cultivation flourishes during the spring and summer in Virginia, and indoor grows are becoming more and more common.

  • Current investigations report that diversion of OxyContin (both brand name and generic), Percocet, and Dilaudid continues to be a problem in Virginia.
  • Primary methods of diversion of pharmaceuticals being reported in Virginia are illegal sale and distribution by health care professionals and workers, "doctor shopping", employee theft, and the Internet.
  • Hydromorphone, methadone, and benzodiazepines have been identified as being among the most commonly abused and diverted pharmaceuticals in Virginia.

  • In 1995 a program was created known as the DEA Mobile Enforcement Teams, or "MET". This was in response to the overwhelming problem of drugs and drug-related crimes across the nation. There have been nine MET deployments in the State of Virginia since the inception of the program: Manassas, Chincoteague, Fredericksburg, Richmond, Petersburg, Hampton, Prince William County, Hopewell, and Shenandoah Valley.
  • There were 539 drug violation arrests in Virginia in 2007.

  • In 1999 a program called Regional Enforcement Team or "RET" was designed to augment existing DEA division resources by targeting drug organizations operating in the United States where there is a lack of sufficient local drug law enforcement. There has been one RET deployment in the State of Virginia since the inception of the program: Portsmouth.

  • The Washington/Baltimore HIDTA and Metropolitan Area Task Force (MATF) both participated in and helped in the funding of enforcement groups in northern Virginia in 2007.
  • An interdiction task force covering Reagan National and Dulles International Airport further serves Northern Virginia.

  • The Annandale High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA)/MATF are composed of two DEA task forces. Seven local agencies in Virgnia and the State Police are represented. Intelligence Analysts assigned to the Washington Field Division's Intelligence Group 42 provide analytical support in Virginia.

State Drug Offices: Virginia

  • Governor's Office Virginia Office of the Governor
    Capitol Building, Third Floor
    Richmond, Virginia 23219
  • State Legislative Contact Virginia Division of Legislative Services Virginia
    General Assembly Building
    910 Capitol Street, Second Floor
    Richmond, Virginia 23208
  • State Drug Program Coordinator Virginia Governor's Office for Substance Abuse Prevention
    202 North Ninth Street, Suite 532
    Richmond, Virginia 23219
  • State Criminal Justice Offices Virginia

  • Attorney General's Office Virginia Office of the Attorney General Virginia
    Commonwealth of Virginia
    900 East Main Street
    Richmond, Virginia 23219
  • Law Enforcement Planning Virginia State Police
    P.O. Box 27472
    Richmond, Virginia 23261-7472
  • Crime Prevention Office Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services Virginia
    Virginia Crime Prevention Center
    805 East Broad Street
    Richmond, Virginia 23219
  • Virginia Crime Prevention Association, Inc. 4914 Redford Avenue, Suite 306
    Richmond, Virginia 23230
  • Statistical Analysis Center Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services
    805 East Broad Street
    Richmond, Virginia 23219
  • Uniform Crime Reports Contact Virginia Uniform Crime Reports Virginia
    Records Management Division Virginia
    Department of State Police
    P.O. Box 27472
    Richmond, Virginia 23261-7472
  • BJA Strategy Preparation Agency Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services
    805 East Broad Street, 10th Floor
    Richmond, Virginia 23219
  • Judicial Agency Virginia Administrative Office of the Courts Virginia
    Supreme Court
    100 North Ninth Street, Third Floor
    Richmond, Virginia 23219
  • Corrections Agency Virginia Department of Corrections
    P.O. Box 26963
    Richmond, Virginia 23261-6963
  • State Health Offices Virginia

  • RADAR Network Agency Virginia Office of Prevention Virginia
    Department of Mental Health
    P.O. Box 1797
    Richmond, Virginia 23214
  • HIV-Prevention Program Virginia Office of Health & Human Resources Virginia
    Health Department
    P.O. Box 2448
    Richmond, Virginia 23218
  • Drug and Alcohol Agency Virginia Division of Substance Abuse Services Virginia
    Department of Mental Health, Mental Retardation,
    and Substance Abuse Services
    P.O. Box 1797
    Richmond, Virginia 23218
  • State Education Office Virginia

  • State Coordinator for Drug-Free Schools Virginia Virginia Department of Education
    Youth Risk Prevention Program
    P.O. Box 2120
    Richmond, Virginia 23216-2120

Virginia: Substance Abuse Trends & Statistics

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Virginia: Substance Abuse Resources

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