Sen. Tim Kaine on Va. heroin overdose deaths: This is a heartbreaking tragedy

Posted at 7:36 PM, Mar 03, 2016
and last updated 2016-03-03 19:55:29-05

RICHMOND, Va. -- A day after officials revealed Metro Richmond was seeing a spike in heroin overdose deaths,  Sen. Tim Kaine said lawmakers are considering a bill that would deal heavily with opioid issues.

Kaine heard about WTVR CBS 6's story Wednesday about 21-year-old Jordan, who became addicted to painkillers after his appendectomy, which he said led to heroin and eventually an overdose.

"I fell in love with the feeling," he said. "Ever since that day in the hospital, it was just all out, I gave my life to opiates."

Jordan has been clean for two months now, but his battle is just one of many, and not everyone is as lucky as Jordan.

Those who help drug addicts kick their habit are concerned about a recent spike in fatal overdoses.

Officials with Richmond, Henrico and Chesterfield all say one overdose death is one too many.

Chesterfield Police said they have beefed up resources to try to combat the issue.

"We've developed a relationship with SAFE, the Safe Task Force, they've helped us in producing a heroin resource card that we hand out to people that we believe may be addicted to heroin," Maj. Chris Hensley said.

Rob Lawrence with the Richmond Ambulance Authority said they have season spikes of where they see more calls for overdoses, and the agency is at the end of a current spike.

"We have administered over the last 12 months over 400 doses of naloxone, which is the drug that assists in reversing the opioid effect," said Lawrence.

Lawrence said there are no boundaries with who is overdoing, as it could happen to anyone.

In fact, Kaine said heroin abuse is an issue everywhere. He said lawmakers are debating a bill on the Senate floor called the "Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act," which would deal heavily with opioid issues.

"There's a whole series of things that we need to do, but it really begins with education about the dangers of these drugs," Kaine said.

Jordan said he never wants to return to that dark place again, and has this message for those who may still be using: "Don't give up five minutes before a miracle, please, because people are dying left and right."