Northern Virginia has seen a dramatic spike in the number of people being treated for heroin addiction. The Northern Virginia Daily, a local news publication, reports that since the beginning of this year, at least 20 people in Warren, Frederick, Shenandoah, Clarke and Page counties have been killed by the drug. At least 100 more non-fatal overdoses have been recorded in the region.
To tackle the heroin issue, the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Western District of Virginia and the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Force gathered community members to discuss how they can limit the spread of the drug.
During the meeting, one mother who lost her son in August to heroin addiction shared her story about her family's struggles. Teresa Nelson of Frederick told the group that nothing could have prepared her for the tragedy of finding the lifeless body of her 30-year-old son Derek in the bathroom of her home.
"It's too late. It is," Nelson said in her speech. "But it's not too late for other mothers and their sons. I'm walking today feeling hopeful and I'm feeling like a little less helpless."
At the meeting, Virginia State Police officer Jay Perry told attendees that heroin addicts shouldn't be stereotyped. Substance abuse cuts across all corners of a population, affecting men and women, whether old and young or rich and poor.