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Press Release

US Attorney’s Office to Bring USA HEAT Program to Russell County Schools, Community

For Immediate Release
U.S. Attorney's Office, Western District of Virginia
Program Aims to Increase Community Awareness about Growing Heroin and Opioid Epidemic

Roanoke, VIRGINIA – The United States Attorney’s Heroin Education Action Team (USA HEAT) is coming to Russell County, November 13 and 14 for a series of school and community presentations to raise awareness and understanding about the growing heroin and opioid epidemic and the impact it has on Virginia families.

“More Americans died in 2018 from drug overdoses than were killed in combat during the entire Vietnam War,” United States Attorney Thomas T. Cullen stated, adding that a majority of those overdoses were caused by opioids. “Although targeted federal enforcement is critical to combatting the opioid epidemic, meaningful prevention and recovery initiatives are equally important.  We are excited to launch our HEAT initiative in Russell County and look forward to hosting other forums in the near future.” 

As a way to prevent young people from heading down a path that leads to addiction, USA HEAT will be presenting to ninth graders at three area high schools on November 13 and 14. In addition, a community forum is being held the evening of November 13. The community forum will take place at Lebanon High School at 7 p.m. and is free and open to the public.

The goal of these presentations is to educate students and the community about the dangers of opioids. Families who have lost a loved one to opioid addiction will share stories of how this epidemic has touched their lives.

“These courageous families will share their stories in order to help others avoid the grief of losing a family member to drug overdose,” U.S. Attorney Cullen said. “Too many Virginia families have been robbed of a loved one because of heroin and opioid addiction. We are doing what we can to end this deadly cycle of abuse.”

These programs are a cooperative effort presented by the United States Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia, The Russell County Prevention Coalition, the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Russell County Public Schools.

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Updated November 5, 2019