CVARR Welcomes our DFC Coordinator

Amy Lucas, DFC Coordinator

CVARR is proud to announce our newest member and Drug Free Communities Grant Coordinator, Amy Lucas. Amy came to us from Christiansburg, Virginia with great passion for mental health, trauma, and substance use prevention. Amy is a Liberty University alumni with a diverse professional and educational background. In her early career, Amy worked with the Women’s Resource Center of the New River Valley, teaching their violence prevention and healthy communication program and serving as the first point of contact for students reporting domestic violence, sexual assault and/ or past trauma. Following her impact at WRC, Amy accepted a supervisory role with New River Valley Community Services as a Crisis Hotline Supervisor. Amy and her family, Jeremy and Elijah Lucas, now reside in the Central Virginia region where they call Lynchburg- home and CVARR- family. Welcome to the team Amy, we are honored by your commitment to our community and the work of CVARR. We confidently embrace the coming year, successes and challenges that come, with your incoming energy and leadership at the table!

CVARR Launches Into 2020!

From Left: Joni Organ, Andrew Childress, Officer Daniel Black and James B. Polk of CVARR

With 2020 underway, the Lynchburg Region is stepping up to answer the call for community wide collaboration on substance use prevention, treatment and recovery efforts.

On Thursday, January 16th, 2020, Central Virginia Addiction and Recovery Resources came together to celebrate their official launch and recognize innovative leaders in our community who have inspired immeasurable impact in the formation and establishment of such a robust community network. Dozens of community members from many sectors of the region such as business owners and service providers to citizens and passionate youth joined CVARR to celebrate their recent success in foundational community building and support the bright future that lies ahead for this innovative group of community activists! 

Event Speaker: Keith Cartwright, VDBHDS

A visionary award was presented to Tom Seaman in recognition of his visionary guidance & steadfast leadership in the creation of Ce in 2017. Anne Bond-Gentry from Lynchburg City Schools was recognized as an outstanding Community Champion in acknowledgment of her dedicated commitment to coalition efforts. An outstanding business award was presented to OrthoVirginia in recognition of their outstanding contribution & impactful partnership in the coalitions efforts to secure the Federal Drug Free Communities Grant in recent months. Mandy Cocke, who received the award on behalf of OrthoVirginia commented, “CVARR is evidence of the true collaborative efforts of our community. It’s been an amazing experience to work with such talented individuals coming together to make Lynchburg a better place for prevention, treatment and recovery.”

Community members discussing environmental concerns and priority populations in our region.

Joined by, Nancy Hans the Executive Director of the Prevention Council of Roanoke County and Keith Cartwright with the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services, the coalition discussed the power of collaboration and shared an inspiring message on understanding the root of addiction.

Left: CVARR’s Event Sponsor Horizon Behavioral, represented by CEO Damien Cabezas pictured with Januwaa Davis, Coalition Strategic Planner and guest speaker Nancy Hans, Roanoke Prevention Council 

By focusing their efforts on prevention, treatment and recovery, CVARR and its members have resolved to rise and face the burden substance use has placed on our family members, neighbors, and overall community. Rhonda Turner, Treatment Lead for CVARR stated “After 25 year of working in the field this is the first time I’ve seen a group of this size come together to make a difference. Not only are we making a difference in the Lynchburg community, we’re having an impact across the state.” She is echoed by Secretary Dan Carey, or the Dept. of Health and Human Services, who said in a recent Town Hall Meeting “The work being accomplished here has really become a model for other parts of Virginia.”

CVARR’s current 14 partnering organizations and 52 members of diverse backgrounds and experience have come together to advance the vision of CVARR: to create a safe and healthier community for all. With community, state, and Federal support, CVARR is positioned to become a leading health resource for our area in 2020.

December Town Hall Meeting

Right: Secretary Dan Carey sits with local health advocates Dr. James Stewart and CVARR Chair, Brent McCraw.

On December 22, 2019, Central Virginia’s leading advocates for substance use prevention, treatment, and recovery sat down with Secretary of Health and Human Resources, Dr. Dan Carey, to discuss the progress and future of resources and services developed to address the opioid epidemic right here in the heart of Virginia. CVARR Members Brent McCraw, James Stewart of Up with the Recovery, Mandy Cocke of OrthoVirginia, Januwaa Davis of Horizon Behavioral Health, Daniel Black of the Lynchburg Police Department represent their respective premier service providers to discuss what is available to community members seeking prevention, treatment, or recovery from substance use challenges and the disease of addiction. Dr. Carey highlights that “The work being accomplished here has really become a model for other parts of Virginia.” Click the link to watch the full town hall meeting, covered by WSET News, to learn more about the hope and help that is available in the Central Virginia Region.

Virginia’s First Medication Assisted Recovery Support Group, M.A.R.A.

12-Step recovery programs continue to evolve into new support groups that can accommodate the specific needs of its members. Many 12-Step groups promote total abstinence from any mind-altering drugs. As a result, many Addicts and alcoholics that are using medication to aid in their recovery process are left feeling unwelcomed in their support groups. This includes individuals receiving Medicine-Assisted Therapy to aid the early stages of recovery/sobriety who have been unable to stop using drugs on their own. Part of being in a support group is being around people that can celebrate the similarities and advocate for each other through the difficulties of staying sober. In response to a common, rising need identified in a Central Virginia Addiction and Recovery Resources (CVARR) Meeting, a 12-step Recovery Group, M.A.R.A., has been created in the Lynchburg area. This formal meeting is the very first of its kind across the entire state of Virginia and its development was spearheaded by the Lynchburg Health Department through the committed work of their Peer Support Specialists. This newfound program supports MAT (medication assisted treatment) but exists to encourage members to stay clear of illicit drugs, un-prescribed drugs, and alcohol since that can lead them back to the throes of addiction. “We are excited to be able to bring the first MARA endorsed group to the state of Virginia,” said Carl Mack, Registered Peer Recovery Specialist. “The Central Virginia Health District leadership is pleased to be able to provide an innovative response to the needs identified in this area.” Mr. Mack added, “I have received that same sentiment from many of the area’s MAT providers. Everyone is different in how they will achieve their sobriety. However, OUR WAY will strive to come together based on unity in sobriety and MARA will continue to give many that chance to experience freedom from the disease of addiction.

DisposeRX: First Pilot Program of It’s Kind in Central Virginia

 For Full Report visit:

History is in the making right here in Lynchburg Virginia. Centra Health and Horizon Behavioral Health partnered together back in August of 2019 to roll out the first program of it’s kind. The program, funded by a state grant awarded to Horizon for opioid response initiatives,  provided prescription disposal packs to all patients in Surgical and Labor/Delivery Departments of Centra Hospital. In an interview with WSET, Shannon Miles, a founder of CVARR, reveals studies that show anywhere from 60-90% of opioids go unused after surgery and often not properly disposed of leading to increased community risk for overdose. “So say you are having pain in your back and you go get your grandmother’s opioid medication she had left over from her surgery,” Miles explained. “You’re not sure of the dose, your opioid naive and you take a 10 or 15 gram opioid. You could reduce your respiration and that could lead to an overdose (Miles).”

The pilot program ensures that every patient is provided a DisposeRX packet and education on safe medication disposal upon discharge. Horizon supported the pilot program for 3 months, upon which time the program’s success was evaluated. The outcomes of the program proved highly successful in it’s efforts to prevent both intentional and unintentional overdoses among discharge patients. Following the success of the pilot,  Centra is now proudly implementing the program across their entire HealthCare System. Every patient who is discharged with an opioid prescription now leaves the hospital having been educated on safe disposal and provided a DisposeRX packet.

CVARR Selected as 2019 DFC Grant Recipient

Office of National Drug Control Policy

  The excitement circling prevention, treatment, and recovery communities across Central Virginia is practically tangible since release of the grand news: Central Virginia Addiction and Recovery Resources has been selected as the only coalition to receive the federal Drug Free Communities (DFC) Grant across the state of Virginia for 2019!

As the single recipient of the highly competitive DFC Grant across Virginia in 2019, CVARR is entrusted with the responsibility of federal funds amounting to $125,000 each your for up to 10 years to address the emerging drug trends in our region, such as methamphetamine, prescription drug misuse and synthetic drug use, specifically among our region’s youth population.  As a nationally recognized and federally funded community coalition, CVARR is confident in the pursuit of our mission and ready to rise to the challenge of this coming years’ goals and objectives for prevention, treatment and recovery. See what our Coalition had to say in an WSET interview about receival of the grant on October 30th, 2019.

National Drug Take-Back Day!

Officer Norman Claytor, Lynchburg Police Dept. stands with Gabriella Delbo, Horizon, next to 108 lbs. of prescription drugs collected on Sat. October 26, 2019.

On Saturday, October 26th, 2019, Horizon Behavioral Health in collaboration with the regional Police Departments of Appomattox, Amherst, and Lynchburg hosted National Drug Take Back Day in three locations across the Central Virginia region.

“The National prescription Drug Take Back Day addresses a crucial public safety and public health issue. According to the 2018 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 9.9 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet.” -Drug Enforcement Administration

From 10:00am-2:00pm, citizens came from all around to help reduce the risk of substance use by properly disposing of their expired or no longer needed prescription medications. Horizon provided free materials across all locations such as medication lock boxes, trigger locks, and a plethora of medication-related educational materials. Following the event, the medication collection was weighed and amounted to hundreds of pounds of drugs no longer at risk for circulating in our community! Each county collected the following:

  • Appomattox collected 92lbs of medication.
  • Amherst collected 50lbs of medication.
  • Lynchburg collected 108lbs medication. 

More information regarding the event was reported by WSET with personal interviews from citizens, police officers and Horizon professionals involved in the local drug take-back efforts! Drug take back day is held twice a year, in October and April. The date of the April 2020 event has not yet been announced.

Lynchburg Drug Court

Graduation Ceremony for Pilot Program

Emily Elconin/ The News & Advance

On Wednesday, August 9, 2019, the first graduating class of five individuals have celebrated being substance free for 2 years after pleading guilty to a probation violation. This graduating class represents the first drug court docket of the 24th Judicial District. Based on the success of the Lynchburg program, the countries of Amherst, Appomattox, Campbell, and Nelson have discussed the adoption of their own Drug Court programs with Bedford having recently adopted the second Drug Court for our District. The Lynchburg Drug Court Advisory Committee is proud to report that we are now seeking $65,000 of state funding to continue the program in addition to the seed money left over from the pilot program.

The members of CVARR would like to congratulate our regions graduates and their families for their admirable accomplishment, encourage existing members of the Lynchburg Drug Court program, and pay a special thanks to our community’s attorneys, service providers, court officials, and other criminal justice officials for their dedication to this program!

For more information on the Lynchburg Drug Court, kindly visit The News & Advance

Youth Making a Difference

Youth groups from  EC Glass and Heritage high schools attended the 2018 YADAPP (Youth Alcohol Drugs Abuse Prevention Project) leadership conference. While attending YADAPP these youth were empowered to take peer leadership roles in their schools and community by promoting positive, alcohol- and drug-free behavior.  They had an opportunity to meet other students with common interests and ideals from across the state of Virginia. YADAPP Participants connect and bond during the week with fun activities, workshops, empowering speeches and through the college living experience at Longwood University.

EC Glass students being recognized and awarded a $250 YADAPP mini-grant for their

Strategies to Act Now (STAN) Plan entitled a Pledge to CADE.

EC Glass and Heritage High School groups that attended the 2018 YADAPP Conference.

In the News

CVCC campus officers will carry opioid antidote – January 16, 2019

Drug treatment docket in Bedford underway to help break cycle of addiction – December 26, 2018

First lady: Opioids “taken hold of our country” – November 28, 2018

Drugs, gangs in Lynchburg focus of community forum – October 30, 2018

Addiction, mental health services expanding in Bedford, Nelson counties – October 6, 2018

New, addiction-focused Hope Initiative to hold info session – March 24, 2018

Conversation on opioid addiction unites Lynchburg stakeholders – March 1, 2018

Horizon hosts panel discussion on opioid crisis, community leaders weigh in – March 1, 2018

With opioids on the rise, so is need for foster families in the Lynchburg area – January 16, 2018

Bedford County officials, state AG discuss opioid epidemic’s strain on resources – July 18, 2017

Herring visits area to raise awareness on opioids – May 7, 2017

Central Virginia Opioid Abuse Epidemic Coalition to meet Jan. 10 – January 3, 2017

Concerned Lynchburgers building coalition to attack heroin and opioid abuse – June 14, 2016

AG’s office highlights heroin/opioid epidemic with documentary – May 3, 2016