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P.O. Box 9282, Reston, VA 20195

© 2016-2018 by The Chris Atwood Foundation

Recovery and Harm Reduction Advocacy 2020

HOW YOU CAN HELP:

 

We are asking Virginians who support harm reduction and recovery to call or e-mail your legislators today and ask them to support three vital pieces of legislation. 

 

Find your legislator here: https://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/

 

Suggested dialogue when contacting legislators

Dear Delegate/Senator _____, 

 

My name is ____, and I am one of your constituents in ___county.  I am contacting you today to ask for your support of three important bills: HB791, SB667, and SB903.  I am a person impacted by substance use disorder and I have seen the desperate need for accessible and evidence-based services for people who use drugs.  The current harm reduction laws in Virginia are woefully ineffective and as a result too many Virginians are dying preventable deaths.  We must do better to stop overdose death, prevent the spread of disease, and improve the health of people who use drugs in Virginia.  Please support this life-saving legislation!  

 

Thank you, 

{name} 

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We Support:

  • HB791. This is a Comprehensive Harm Reduction bill that repeals the "expiration date" on the authority of the four existing comprehensive harm reduction programs and eliminates the requirement that new comprehensive harm reduction programs be located only in certain communities and receive approval from law enforcement. It also provides participants with immunity for the possession of paraphernalia and residual amounts of drugs in used syringes. Full text: http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?201+sum+HB791

    • UPDATE 2/4/2020: HB791 has passed the house health subcommittee unanimously and full health committee ​21-1.  Next stop: the House Floor. 

  • HB532 / SB667 Too often people do not call 911 for help during an overdose emergency. They know that the consequences of getting caught by law enforcement are severe. However, lives are being lost that could be saved if this fear was removed. To that effect we support HB532, also known as a "Good Samaritan Law." This bill expands protection to BOTH the person calling 911 and the person who has overdosed. It also expands protection from an affirmative defense in court to full-fledged immunity.  Full text: https://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?ses=201&typ=bil&val=hb532&submit=GO 

    • UPDATE 2/4/2020: HB532 was voted down in committee. We are very, very disapointed. However, there is a Senate version of this bill that is still alive and being heard 2/5/2020 in the Senate Judiciary subcommittee.   

  • "Danny's Bill" SB903: Hospitals routinely revive people from an overdose and then release them an hour or two later, even in the middle of the night, in full blown withdrawal with no further help. Those individuals frequently overdose again mere hours later. This would not be tolerated for any other condition, but the stigma of drug use is rampant. HB903 will enact standard operating procedures in hospitals treating an individual for a substance related emergenc, including a behavioral health assessment, access to pharmacotherapy for opioid use disorder if applicable, a naloxone kit, and linkage to community based resources. Full text: https://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?ses=201&typ=bil&val=SB903&submit=GO

    • UPDATE: Danny's bill passed fully through the senate unanimously! Now it's on to the House.  Please ask Delegates to support. 

    • Danny's bill also includes two budget amendments:

      • $300,000 for a planning grant for development of a replicable, sustainable Acute Stabilization Unit/Detox in the Northern Shenandoah Valley

      • $300,000 for a planning/feasibility study for pilot program in Winchester area Emergency Department to create:

        • Separate waiting area/immediate diversion 

        • Peer recovery specialist and/or other trained crisis worker to sit with patients and/or be present/accessible in waiting area.

        • Prompt evaluation/assessments – maximum 2 hour wait time.

        • Access to psychiatrist or licensed provider via telemedicine or other means.

        • Case management or other properly trained professionals for referrals, scheduled follow-ups, and transfers (required minimum 3 referrals/resources).

Advocacy Materials:

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