VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) – A new program in Virginia Beach aims to curb opioid overdoses.
According to the Virginia Department of Health, there were more than 1,900 opioid overdose deaths in the state in 2020.
103 of those happened in Virginia Beach.
That’s why the city’s Commonwealth’s Attorney, Police Department, Department of Human Services, and Virginia Beach Psychiatric Center announced “The First Step Program” today.
It enables people to walk into a police precinct and get help, instead of potentially getting in trouble, or worse, overdosing.
“All they need to do is walk into a Virginia Beach police precinct and say ‘I need help with my addiction’,” said Virginia Beach Commonwealth’s Attorney Colin Stolle. “Immediately, someone there will be reaching out to the Pathways Center through the Department of Human Services. There will be an evaluation put in place to see what help and services that individual needs.”
If there are active warrants out for someone, they will be served on people who go to a police precinct. If that person isn’t taken into custody, they can participate in the program.
“If they’re coming in and they are asking for help, we know that they are taking a huge step and that is a huge trust in the system for them to come to a police department, admit that they have an opioid addiction and ask for help,” said Virginia Beach Police Chief Paul Neudigate. “We do not want to be hinderance or obstacle for someone who is in a time of crisis.”
It’s open to all adults, regardless of insurance or immigration status. Participation is voluntary.
You can find more information about the program on the city’s website. It starts May 1st.
For 24/7 crisis assistance, you can call the Pathways Center at (757) 385-6956 or Virginia Beach
Psychiatric Center (757) 627-LIFE (5433). You will receive a free, confidential assessment.
“Safe place” locations (24/7 help available) include:
- VBPD 1st Precinct, 2509 Princess Anne Road, Virginia Beach, VA 23456: (757) 385-4377
- VBPD 2nd Precinct, 820 Virginia Beach Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA 23451: (757) 385-2700
- VBPD 3rd Precinct, 926 Independence Blvd, Virginia Beach, VA 23455: (757) 385-2703
- VBPD 4th Precinct, 5152 Lobaugh Drive, Virginia Beach, VA 23464: (757) 385-2800