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Community Discussion on Heroin and Opioid Use in Loudoun Brings Crowd, Ideas for Action

BRAMBLETON, Va. - Yesterday evening, Delegate John J. Bell and fellow government officials presented a screening of the documentary, "Heroin: The Hardest Hit." Following the film, viewers and community leaders discussed the epidemic and ways to take the problem head-on, both here in Loudoun and in the Commonwealth. 


Delegate John Bell's connection to the issue is very personal -- his son suffers from addiction to opioids and heroin. 


Senator Jennifer Wexton, Delegate Charniele Herring, and Supervisor Kristen Umstattd were in attendance; as well as representatives from the offices of Congresswoman Barbara Comstock, Attorney General Mark Herring, Supervisor Koran Saines, the Loudoun County Health Department, the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office, and the Leesburg chapter of NarAnon. 


"I am sharing my story in hopes that what my family has gone through may inspire someone in trouble to seek help. I know better than anyone that this can happen to anyone," said Delegate John J. Bell (D - South Riding). "This experience has changed how I see the issue as a father, citizen and legislator. I look forward to working to stop the heroin and opioid epidemic in its tracks."


"I thank Delegate Bell for sharing his story. So many Virginia families affected by the opioid epidemic do not speak out, and I hope that his advocacy will help stop the stigma that surrounds addiction," said State Senator Jennifer Wexton (D -Loudoun). "I am looking forward to working with Delegate Bell on bills that will help reverse the fatal trend, especially expanding access to lifesaving medications like Naloxone."


"In Virginia, we are facing two to three deaths a day from drug abuse. Raising awareness about the issue and the possible solutions is necessary to take the epidemic head-on," said Delegate Charniele Herring (D - Alexandria). "Thank you to Delegate Bell for sharing his story and shedding light on heroin and opioid addiction in the Commonwealth."


"This crisis can hit anyone, and I'm truly touched by the crowd here tonight to work together as a community to battle opioid and heroin addiction," said Supervisor Kristen Umstattd (D - Leesburg). "Raising awareness and finding solutions can only happen together."