Opioid and heroin deaths have been rising for the past two years.Since 2015, Hampton Roads has seen a nine-percent overdose increase, a trend that doesn’t seem to be settling in the latter end of 2017. 850 such deaths happen annually now, with Portsmouth carrying the brunt of the load. Newport News itself has had an increase with homelessness, and an industrial explosion in drug abuse, following the April shipyard layoff. It’s no surprise that drug abuse, and homelessness piggy back off each other in a collapsing military industrial economy.
As recently as last Christmas, drug dealer Terry Glen Williams was busted by DEA agents in Newport News for maintaining prostitutes’ heroin addictions, using them to expand his business to other clientele, and prolonging their addictions to keep them as a commodity. If you live in the 757, none of this is shocking or new.
These daunting economic circumstances and rising deaths create a grim and bitter outcome for anyone coastal trying to overcome these hardships.
But there is hope, and there are opportunities.
Where to Find Help with Addiction in Tidewater Virginia
Better Substance Abuse Rehab
BSAR is willing to give free consultation, and a step by step walkthrough for a sit down intervention. Interventions, in no way, shape, or form, the same as rehabilitation. It’s not even the first step towards recovery; it is however opening a gateway to a loved one in need, and reminding them that they are part of a concerned community that loves them enough to sit them down in the first place. Environments stimulate addiction more so than the actual chemicals themselves. Sometimes, a reminder to someone that they’re surrounded by people that can be trusted and reached out to, can change a life or death situation. BSAR can consult and walkthrough a proper intervention with concerned friends and family members.
Phone: (757) 216-1595
Right Path: Recover Your Future
Right Path understands addictions from an addict’s perspective, blatantly stating that addiction is not a choice, but a disease to be dealt with. A series of environmental factors in need of changing. Right Path also accepts VA Medicare, making them a more accessible program for those financially suffering in the economic environment that contributed towards their addiction. VA Medicare, in most cases, will cover the entirety of the recovery process, ranging from meeting with a counselor, to the medication itself. There is no shame in financial help along the way.
Phone: (Accessed through local Department of Social Services)
Norfolk: (757) 664-6000
Virginia Beach: (757) 385-3200
Chesapeake: (757) 382-2000
Suffolk: (757) 514-7450
Richmond: (804) 646-7000
Newport News: (757) 926-6300
Hampton: (757) 727-1800
The Healing Place of Hampton Roads
The Healing Place is a non-profit, non-medical recovery and rehabilitation district for the homeless, with a twelve step program that leads into permanent housing. They are a product of the 2009 Hampton Roads Regional Task Force To End Homelessness. The Place has received multiple accolades for the programs it runs, including Model that Works by the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services. They also have a volunteer program for those that are looking to make a positive impact on their community, and do their part to end the epidemic. The entirety of this process is free for those signing themselves up for it.
Phone: 757- 217-0408
The issue that permeates Hampton Roads is not the economic conditions that create homelessness. It’s not the homelessness that creates addiction; it’s the apathy and loathsome reaction that 757ers have towards those less privileged.
If at least a tenth of our community could actively care about those starving and freezing in the streets, recovery rates would skyrocket, the rising tide of overdoses could possibly be overturned.
Until this happens, volunteer, donate, share, and let someone in need know that they’re loved. They could be one less body, one less death.
Chad MacDonald, a member of the Central Virginia Chapter of Writing for Peace, is currently a student of West Virginia Wesleyan's MFA program. He graduated from Longwood University with a degree in English/Creative Writing, and is a contributor to 5 to 1 Magazine, Calamus Press, and Word Gatherings.