PORTSMOUTH, Va. (WAVY) — It is a major struggle getting the nation’s drug problem under control, and it’s much the same situation in Hampton Roads.
In Portsmouth alone — in the past three weeks — there have been at least nine overdoses, according to records from the city’s police department.
It’s so common, 10 On Your Side’s Laura Caso encountered a very real situation in the field — the scene of yet another person struggling at the hands of drugs. Police confirm there was an overdose in the Victory Mini Mart parking lot on Victory Blvd. in Portsmouth.
According to police, the woman was arrested for suspected heroin — 10 On Your Side has chosen not to publish her name. Portsmouth police confirm a woman overdosed in a gas station parking lot with her baby in the backseat.
Drug addiction is a harsh reality that hits home.
“Her eyes kept going up in her head. You know what I mean. The baby was in the backseat,” said one witness at the scene.
The good news is the woman survived. Police charged her with possession of a controlled substance and abuse/neglect of a child. 10 On Your Side visited the mother’s home in North Carolina and she chose to decline an interview.
Police say she was revived with Narcan — an opiate reversal drug.
In it, the very thing that saved the baby’s mother, a drug that’s been used more over the last five years, according to Amy Ward, Portsmouth Fire Rescue’s acting EMS manager.
“We are very used to coming into situations, it’s really like putting a puzzle together, you have to take and find all of the pieces and put a puzzle together to find out what’s wrong with the patient.”
“Thank God for that hero who happened to be right there at the right time and saved the baby’s and that mom’s life,” said Heather Wilson of The Up Center.
The center provides foster care and adoption services for kids who need it.
Wilson sees the aftermath of opioids. Each one, she says, is as sad as the next.
“We are seeing it every other week. It’s very often that we are hearing the stories,” said Wilson. “We are also seeing kids elementary age who will make the phone call who say my mom is not breathing or my mom is acting a little weird.”
But there is help out there for someone you love.
Tony Crisp is the director of addiction and recovery treatment services for the Hampton Newport News Community Services Board
“It’s a great demand, but we don’t understand why people aren’t coming to the door.”
He says there are nine community services board that offer treatment and resources in our area.
“Medication assistant treatment, residential programs, detox programs, regular outpatient, intensive outpatient, there are a variety of services to meet the person’s need.”
That includes treatments for mothers like the South-Eastern Family Project, which offers programs to rehab mother and baby. The facility has 16 beds, and with the opioid epidemic hitting the area, those beds are needed.
“It was more in West Virginia first and we were preparing for it in our minds and doing as much research as we can and now its in our backyard. It’s in Hampton Roads and it’s scary,” said Wilson.
Drug addiction hits home hard.
Since the overdose at the Victory Mini Mart, there have been four more in the city.
Drug overdose is here in Hampton Roads, the reality of it happening in the middle of a busy Monday in Portsmouth with a baby in the backseat.
This battle is not one you have to fight alone. There’s help:
Hampton Newport News Community Services Board: http://www.hnncsb.org/
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration: https://www.samhsa.gov/
Southeastern Virginia Family Project: www.sefp.org
Virginia National Substance Abuse Index: http://nationalsubstanceabuseindex.org/virginia/facilities.php
Virginia Opioid overdose and Naloxone Training: http://www.dbhds.virginia.gov/individuals-and-families/substance-abuse/revive
Virginia Department of Health: http://www.dbhds.virginia.gov/individuals-and-families/substance-abuse
Norfolk Substance Abuse Treatment Centers: http://www.addicted.org/norfolk-addiction-treatment-services.html
Virginia Beach Outpatient Treatment: http://www.newlifesabc.com/
Mental Health of Virginia Resources: http://www.mentalhealth.va.gov/res-vatreatmentprograms.asp
Opiate Addiction and Resource Center: http://www.opiateaddictionresource.com/treatment/suboxone_treatment_directory/va_suboxone
Addiction Center Cost of Drug and Alcohol Addiction: https://www.addictioncenter.com/rehab-questions/cost-of-drug-and-alcohol-treatment/