By Timothy J. Heaphy
The abuse of illegal and prescription drugs has reached epidemic levels in Southwest Virginia.
We used to approach this issue as a criminal justice problem and hope that vigorous enforcement alone would solve it. While our commitment to strong enforcement has not changed, we have broadened our focus to take a more hands-on approach, including crime prevention, community outreach and evidence-based substance abuse treatment. A holistic approach to this vexing and persistent problem is essential if we are going to effectively curb abuse.
Our office is actively pursuing this multi-pronged response to the public health crisis of prescription drug abuse.
Heaphy is the United States attorney for the Western District of Virginia.