Virginia Addiction Treatment
Virginia has experienced an uptick in drug smuggling activities, especially for Marijuana and Cocaine. Roughly 50% of the state’s population resides in three regions – Northern Virginia, Central Virginia and Tidewater – making it easier for drug trafficking organizations (DTOs) to move drugs in and out of the state.
In 2017, it was reported that about 13% of Virginia residents use illegal substances and around 5% abuse alcohol in any given year.
The number of Virginia residents seeking treatment has been increasing over the past few years. In 2019, more than 25,000 residents sought treatment for a substance use disorder (SUD) in Virginia. Among these individuals, about 26% were for the use of Opioids, 13.1% for alcohol use only and 15.8% for alcohol and the use of a secondary substance.
Substances frequently treated in Virginia rehab facilities include:
The major transportation methods of drugs across the state are private and commercial vehicles, airplanes and trains. Even though the Virginia coastline has several seaports, the ports are typically not used for moving substances. Colombian and Dominican DTOs transport drugs, namely cocaine, between New York City, Philadelphia and parts of Virginia. Marijuana, on the other hand, often comes from Mexican and Jamaican DTOs based in several southeastern cities such as Charlotte and Atlanta.
- Highways: Interstates 64, 66, 77, 81, 85, and 95 and U.S. Highway 13 are the most commonly used highways to haul drugs into and out of Virginia. Many highways connect with one another, making it easier to carry drugs from state to state. Interstate 95 is the primary highway that runs from Florida to Maine and U.S. Highway 13 is the main road running along Virginia’s shoreline.
- Airports: Virginia’s two principal airports are Washington Dulles International and Ronald Reagan Washington National. Many of the airports, excluding Ronald Reagan Washington National, have international service. Small amounts of illicit substances are concealed in passenger luggage and clothing, whereas larger amounts are shipped in containers.
With large quantities of substances coming in and out of Virginia each day, drug-related crime is a growing concern among residents. The rate of drug arrests from 2008 to 2017 increased by 38% resulting in a yearly average of 37,000 for the 10 year period. 2017 experienced the highest number of drug arrests at just over 45,000.
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Laws Of Virginia Drug Use
Virginia has some of the toughest legal penalties for possessing, manufacturing and distributing illicit substances. Criminal charges and sentencing for drug-related activities depend on the type of drug, as well as the amount involved.
A person found guilty of transporting at least one ounce of a Schedule I or Schedule II controlled substance into Virginia with intent to sell faces a felony conviction. These charges include a mandatory minimum sentence of 3 years but this sentencing can go up to 40 years.
Substances are classified into six schedules. Schedules I and II contain drugs with a high risk of dependency, like heroin, cocaine and opioids. Schedules V and VI include lower-risk substances such as depressants, certain stimulants and many over-the-counter medications.
|Schedule||Criminal Charge||Potential Sentence|
|Schedule I or II||Class 5 felony||Not less than one year, nor more than ten years in jail and $2,500 fine|
|Schedule III||Class 1 misdemeanor||Up to 1 year in jail and $2,500 fine|
|Schedule IV||Class 1 misdemeanor||Up to 6 months in jail and $1,000 fine|
|Schedule V||Class 3 misdemeanor||Up to $500 fine|
|Schedule VI||Class 5 misdemeanor||Up to $250 fine|
First-time drug offenders must participate in a treatment program. These programs offer substance abuse therapies, assist with relapse prevention and periodically test for drugs.
In an effort to dismantle large trafficking organizations, Virginia offers up to $10,000 for residents who can help law enforcement officials arrest and convict major drug dealers.
Marijuana Laws In Virginia
As of July 2021, it is legal for residents of Virginia over the age of 21 to possess under 1 ounce of Marijuana for personal use. Those 21 and over can use the substance in their private residences. They also may grow up to 4 plants per each household (not per individual). The transferring of 1 ounce or less of Marijuana, or “adult sharing”, is legal as long as there is not a reciprocal transaction, a gift is offered in exchange for the substance, or goods and services are offered in conjunction.
Although Marijuana is not legal for personal use in Virginia, there are still laws in place regarding the substance. Any individual found with more than 1 ounce, but under 1 pound of Marijuana is subject to a $25 civil penalty. Those with more than 1 pound of the substance may receive a felony charge with up to 10 years in jail and a $250,000 fine. Other illegal activities related to Marijuana include:
- Consuming, possessing, or distributing Marijuana by anyone under that age of 21.
- Possessing any amount of the substance with intent to distribute or sell.
- Driving a motor vehicle while being under the influence of Marijuana.
- Possessing on the grounds of a school.
Anyone under the age of 21 found with Marijuana may face a civil penalty of up to $25 along with a required entry into a substance abuse treatment program.
Addiction Treatment Laws In Virginia
Harm reduction laws in Virginia focus on addiction as a disease that impacts individuals, families, friends and community members. Laws may encompass needle exchange programs, Methadone clinics, educational materials, naloxone and other services that help reduce the damage of addiction. When local organizations come together, they can help reduce substance abuse and build a stronger community.
Virginia Drug Courts
Virginia drug court programs started in 2003. Currently, there are 44 approved drug treatment dockets available across the state. There are several different types of drug courts in Virginia: adult drug court, juvenile drug court, DUI drug court and family drug court.
A 2017 annual Virginia Drug Courts report showed data for what substance those entering listed as their drug of choice.
- Alcohol – 35.7%
- Opiates – 32.9%
- Cocaine – 15.6%
- Marijuana – 6.3%
- Methamphetamine – 4.5%
- Other – 3.2%
- Benzodiazepine – 1.9%
During the 12 to 18-month program, nonviolent offenders take part in inpatient or outpatient treatment, individual counseling, various addiction therapies and support groups. The main goals of drug courts are to combat addiction and substance dependency, as well as reduce the number of repeat offenders. After successfully completing drug court in Virginia, offenders may receive a reduced or dismissed charge.
Virginia drug courts prepare offenders for life outside of jail including managing addiction triggers, affordable housing and workforce solutions. 2020 figures showed that VA drug courts had a 40% admission rate with a 41% graduation rate.
Methadone Clinics In Virginia
The rapid increase of prescription medication abuse has led to the addition of Methadone clinics in Virginia. Methadone is used to help subside the uncomfortable withdrawal symptoms associated with an opioid or heroin addiction.
Methadone clinics offer several treatment services such as outpatient maintenance, detox programs and long-term methadone maintenance. It’s important to note that Methadone should not be the only method in overcoming an addiction. A comprehensive recovery plan will provide the greatest chance for long-term recovery and sobriety.
n 2021, it was reported that more than 400,000 people in the US receive Methadone as part of their treatment for Opioid use.
High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Program
Virginia counties are part of two High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) programs: Washington/Baltimore HIDTA and Appalachia HIDTA. An effort between local, state and Federal law enforcement agencies, HIDTA programs aim to combat major DTOs.
Counties that are part of a HIDTA program receive cutting-edge technology devices and other resources to identify and stop drug manufacturers and distributors. For example, the Washington/Baltimore HIDTA has a crime mapping unit that offers a detailed analysis of geographic information relating to DTOs.
Treatment Centers In Virginia
Virginia’s Office of Substance Abuse Services (OCAS) was specifically designed to determine allotted funds and help monitor addiction treatment. In addition, the Virginia Office for Substance Abuse Prevention (VOSAP) collaborates with local and state organizations on various substance abuse initiatives to raise awareness about prevention and recovery. Both agencies provide referrals for various treatment needs such as inpatient facilities, outpatient options, therapy, support groups, sober housing and career opportunities.
Several OCAS substance abuse initiatives are:
- Handle with C.A.R.E.: Handles outreach, referral, medical care, behavioral health and child welfare treatment services. C.A.R.E. stands for Coordinating Access, Responding Effectively to Maternal Substance Use.
- REVIVE!: Provides training to professionals on administering naloxone in the event of an opioid overdose. Naloxone works to reverse the harmful effects of opioids and helps reduce the number of overdose deaths.
- Substance Abuse Screening: Offers different substance and alcohol use screenings for adolescents, adults, older adults, pregnant women and women of childbearing age. After a screening, an intervention will help educate individuals about their use, potential consequences and recovery options.
Choosing a treatment center is a huge decision. When reviewing your options, think about the amenities, therapies, and ongoing support groups that might be most important to you. Whether a facility is in state or out of state, keep an open mind while weighing the pros and cons of each.
Contact a treatment provider today.