Lawmakers in Va. Call for Task Force to Address Heroin Use - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Lawmakers in Va. Call for Task Force to Address Heroin Use

WASHINGTON D.C. - A group of 12 members of the Virginia Congressional Delegation have sent a letter to Va. Gov. Terry McAuliffe, urging him to establish a task force aimed at stopping the spread of heroin use in the state.

The bipartisan group is comprised of Sens. Mark Warner and Tim Kaine, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, and Reps. Frank Wolf, Randy Forbes, Morgan Griffith, Jim Moran, Gerry Connolly, Bob Goodlatte, Robert Hurt, Scot Rigell and Rob Wittman.

In their letter, which was sent Wednesday, the group expresses its concern about the rapid spread of heroin use, and the overdose deaths that come with it.

According to the Congressional Research Service, heroin use increased 79 percent nationally from 2009 to 2012, and the lawmakers said this figure doesn't even account for the drugs spread throughout Virginia over the past two years. Officials said many localities are on track to see double the number of heroin overdoses from the past year.

The lawmakers aim to model the multi-jurisdictional task force after the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug/Gang Task Force, which has seen success in confronting violent gangs over the past decade. According to the letter, the task force met with Rep. Wolf in April, and asked for his help in adopting new legislation that would help them better track heroin overdoses, and prosecute those distributing the drug.

A spokesperson for Wolf told WBOC, "As we've seen before, a task force will allow police and sheriffs' departments across the state to be even more effective by working together."

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