It’s no secret that substance use is in the neighborhoods of Lynchburg and the greater community. In 2018, Virginia’s Health Commissioner declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency in Virginia, and Lynchburg hasn’t been spared this burden. The Virginia Department of Health reported 101 emergency room visits for opioid related drug overdoses in 2016 and 81 visits for overdoses in 2017. The CVARR Coalition is making it our mission to address the heavy burden substance use is having on families, youth, workforces, and social circles within our Central Virginia borders.

A recently conducted Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) found the Lynchburg area to have increased rates of drug/opiates addiction, highlighting the importance for substance use prevention as one of the nine top community health needs within our locality. Meeting this need has been prioritized by our communities premier health providers moving into 2019. Together, we can take back the streets of Lynchburg and the greater community of Central Virginia. Together, CVARR makes up a network designed to safeguard our youth, our families, our workforces, and our citizens.

You can’t know where you’re going until you know where you’ve been. When you know where you’ve been, there are absolutely no limitations to where you can go.

James Baldwin

The first step is to understand what is going on in our community behind the scenes. That is why we have compiled the latest data conducted in our community surrounding substance use behavior. CVARR has utilized community forums; data collection from our local CSB, hospitals, law enforcement, and YRBS results to identify youth substance use problems in our area. These data collection strategies will continue to be refined and used as the very framework for our coalition’s involvement in the community. Please consider the following resources your ‘personal toolbox’ for understanding the needs within our schools, homes, neighborhoods, and larger communities.

Lynchburg Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 2018: Lynchburg City Schools

  • The report of 14% of local 9th grade students in Lynchburg having taken prescription pain medicine such as codeine, Vicodin, OxyContin, Hydrocodone, and Percocet without a doctor’s prescription was higher than that of the national sample and increased by 2% from 2015 to 2018.
  • 1 out of every 10 Lynchburg students in 9th and 12th grade reported having been offered, sold, or given drugs on school property in the past year.

Lynchburg Area Community Health Needs Assessment, 2018: Centra Health

  • Greater than 50% of adults in Lynchburg, Amherst, Appomattox, Campbell, and Pittsylvania counties have used tobacco products in the past 30 days.
  • Adults in Lynchburg, Amherst, Appomattox, Campbell, and Pittsylvania counties report that mental health counseling services are among the top 4 hardest services to acquire in our area.

Virginia Youth Survey, 2017: Virginia Dept. of Health

  • The number of youth that felt sad or hopeless increased from 2011-2017 by 15.7%.
  • 21% of female and 10% of males seriously considered attempting suicide during the past 12 months before the survey.

Virginia State Police, 2016.

  • Report a total of 2,182 drug and narcotic offenses within the entire catchment area in 2016.

Young Adult Surveillance Resource, 2018.

  • 2 out of every of 5 respondents [age 18-25] said feelings of hopelessness or sadness prevented them from carrying out their usual activities.
  • 39% of young adults [age 18-25] report feeling sad or hopeless for 2 weeks or more consecutively during the past year and 16% reported having seriously attempted suicide.
  • 70% of young adults [age 18-25] reported that it was either ‘sort of easy‘ or ‘very easy’ to get alcohol under the age of 21.
  • Nearly 40% of young adults reported that it was ‘sort of easy’ or ‘very easy’ to get prescription drugs from a friend or family member to get high. 

Opioid Addiction Rate Summary, 2017: Virginia Department of Health

  • In 2017, prescription opioid overdose in Bedford, Virginia was 2.5 times higher than the previous year.
  • High School Youth in the SW Region have higher rates than the state of Virginia for ‘past 30 day alcohol use‘, ‘past 30 day binge drinking’, ‘lifetime alcohol use’,  ‘lifetime cigarette use’, and ‘past 30 day cigarettes’.