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Congresswoman Barbara Comstock

Representing the 10th District of Virginia

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Comstock Brings Office of National Drug Control Policy Leadership To Loudoun County and the Shenandoah Valley For Opioid Round Tables

August 8, 2017
Press Release

Washington, DC - Congresswoman Barbara Comstock (R-VA), a member of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force in the House, hosted two roundtables today bringing local, state, and federal stakeholders together to discuss the current state of the heroin and opioid epidemic in Loudoun County and the Shenandoah Valley. The round tables featured Lawrence “Chip” Muir, Acting Chief of Staff and General Counsel for the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).

Participants at the Loudoun Round Table included:

Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman; Karl Colder, Special Agent In Charge, DEA; Leesburg Police Chief Gregory Brown; Captain Greg Kincaid, Virginia State Police; Phillip Erickson, Loudoun County Mental Health; Joseph Razzano, Loudoun County Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Development Services; Dr. Sameer Mehta, INOVA Mental Health; Nick Yacoub, Leader within the Recovery Community; and Ginny Lovett, Executive Director for the Chris Atwood Foundation. 

Participants at the Winchester Round Table included:

Lauren Cummings, Executive Director of the Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition; Steve Cluss, President Valley Health Board of Directors; Nick Restrepo, Vice President of Medical Affairs for Winchester Medical Center; Judge Beth Kellas, Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court; Tim Coyne, Public Defender; Don Butler, Winchester Rotary; Joan Ohl, Senior Director for Casey Family Programs; Lieutenant Amanda Behan, Winchester Police; Supervisor Special Agent Si Schiavone, Virginia State Police; Special Agent Tim Hickey, DEA; Mike Elwell, CEO for Northwestern Community Services Board; Nickie Wheeler, Chief Clinical Program Manager, Northwestern Community Services Board; Brad Hill, Grace Downtown Winchester; Megan Gordon, Program Director for Page Alliance for Community Action; Captain Greg Kincaid, Virginia State Police; Tim Czaja, Director for Berkley Day Reporting Center; Delegate Chris Collins; Delegate Randy Minchew; Delegate David LaRock; representatives from the Winchester Sheriff’s Office and the Frederick County Sheriff’s office.

“Over 1,400 Virginians died from drug overdoses last year again outpacing the number of Virginians killed in auto accidents,” said Congresswoman Barbara Comstock.  “We know stronger and deadlier drugs are hitting our streets with fentanyl and carfentanyl cut into heroin as well as into marijuana. Last year we passed landmark legislation to address this and we continue to identify needs in our communities. Today's roundtables were intended to see how our resources are being targeted and coordinated to educate, prevent, treat, and best address this epidemic. We discussed with ONDCP the education and prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts in the community and the importance of joining together in this fight and the best practices in addressing the multifaceted challenges with substance abuse disorder and addiction.  Earlier this year I led a bipartisan letter to the Administration urging them to maintain strong ONDCP funding because of the vital resources they provide to many communities across the nation. Also, the FY17 spending bill provided robust funding for the HIDTA Program that includes Prince William, Fairfax, Loudoun, and Frederick Counties.”

“Today demonstrated, and really reinforced, the importance of strong leadership in every role.” said Lawrence “Chip” Muir, Acting Chief of Staff and General Counsel of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy. You saw strong leadership on opioids with President Trump's work today, which is focusing national attention and bringing more resources to bear on the epidemic. You saw it with Congresswoman Comstock pulling together two outstanding panels, listening and asking insightful questions, trying to find the gaps that need to be filled and where resources should go. And you saw it with the law enforcement, community leaders, medical leaders, faith leaders, and those in the recovery community all studying the issue and actively pursuing solutions to the public health issues at their doors. When you see everyone using their positions to lead with their strengths, you begin to believe the tide of this battle will soon turn in our favor. Strong leadership matters, and it was on full display today.”

“Loudoun County has seen a 14% decrease in heroin related fatalities in comparison to this same time last year,” said Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman.  “I believe this is a reflection of our comprehensive, integrated and proactive approach that incorporates enforcement, education and prevention. After engaging in our panel discussion today with our federal, state and community partners, it became clear that our efforts must continue to further reduce this scourge impacting our communities and our nation.  I am proud to be working closely with so many committed stakeholders who genuinely want to bring this debilitating issue to an end.”

“The Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition appreciates Congresswoman Comstock facilitating an opioid roundtable discussion and giving us the opportunity to share our story with ONDCP Chief of Staff Chip Muir,” said Lauren Cummings, Executive Director for The Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition. “As we continue to develop solutions to better treat individuals struggling with the disease of addiction it is imperative that our elected officials on the state and national levels work collaboratively to address this crisis.  The representation at the table Tuesday further demonstrated this is an issue that requires the collective efforts of law enforcement, the medical community, treatment providers, elected officials, and the recovery community to make an impact and save lives."

“We need to demonstrate that recovery from substance use disorder is not only possible, but that we can have fun in recovery,” said Nick Yacoub, Recovery Coaches Inc.