Attention Readers: Effective immediately all contact forms on EmporiaNews.com have been removed to prevent spam. Anything you wish to send to Emporia News should be sent to news@emporianews.com.

Current Weather Conditions

 
Seven Day Forecast for Emporia, Virginia
 

Community Calendar Sponsored By...

 

2016-3-24

Emporia News needs your help...

Do you read Emporia News every day? Have you ever considered supporting this community based news service with a donation? You may also make a recurring donation with a subscription.

Emporia News needs your help because it is time to replace a laptop and a camera, so that I may continue to bring you a quality site. It troubles me to ask for donations, but without support, Emporia News may be forced to shut down. Thank You.

WARNER & KAINE CALL FOR ADDITIONAL FUNDING TO COMBAT DRUG ABUSE

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine have called on Senate appropriators to increase federal funding to address the nation’s prescription drug abuse and heroin epidemic.  As the Senate Appropriations Committee drafts its FY 2017 spending proposals, Warner and Kaine joined 20 Senators from both sides of the aisle to express strong support for effective drug prevention and treatment programs that will save lives, reunite families and strengthen communities. 

“As you consider spending priorities for fiscal year (FY) 2017, we are writing to request the highest possible funding for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) Block Grant – a critical program distributed to all States that supports lifesaving substance use disorder treatment, prevention, and recovery services,” the Senators wrote. “In our view, the scope of this epidemic requires our continued focus and attention, and stemming its tide requires sufficient federal resources to help support state and local efforts.”

Warner and Kaine have supported legislation at the federal level to strengthen prevention efforts and help prevent opioid overdose deaths, which outnumbered car accident fatalities in Virginia in 2014. Last week, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee passed a bipartisan bill introduced by Kaine that would encourage physicians to co-prescribe the life-saving drug naloxone alongside opioid prescriptions and make naloxone more widely available in federal health settings.

Full text of the letter:

Dear Chairmen Cochran and Blunt, Vice Chairwoman Mikulski, and Ranking Member Murray,

Thank you for your leadership to address the nation’s prescription drug abuse and heroin epidemic.  As you consider spending priorities for fiscal year (FY) 2017, we are writing to request the highest possible funding for the Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment (SAPT) Block Grant – a critical program distributed to all States that supports lifesaving substance use disorder treatment, prevention, and recovery services.   

As you know, the nation is in the midst of an opioid abuse crisis.  The number of Americans aged 12 or older using opioids non-medically has reached approximately 4.5 million (SAMHSA, 2015).  Individuals who misuse prescription opioid painkillers are forty times more likely to be addicted to heroin, and prior prescription drug use appears to have been a common initial step on the pathway to heroin addiction, with 80 percent of new heroin users previously misusing prescription opioids (CDC 2015; SAMHSA 2013).  As a result, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has found that over the last 10 years, heroin use has more than doubled among young adults ages 18 to 25.  Further, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there was a 6-fold increase in the total number of heroin-related overdose deaths from 2001 to 2014.  According to the CDC, in 2014, prescription opioid misuse and heroin addiction resulted in a total of 28,647 deaths.

The opioid abuse epidemic has also placed incredible pressures on our nation’s substance use disorder treatment system.  Data from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Treatment Episode Data System (TEDS) show that in 2012, nearly one-third of all treatment admissions were for prescription opioids or heroin, up from 14.9 percent in 1992.  According to the National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors (NASADAD), 39 States reported increases in treatment admissions for heroin during the past year (NASADAD, 2015).  Further, according to SAMHSA, admissions to treatment for opioid pain relievers increased by a staggering 500 percent from 2000 to 2012.  It is clear that more must be done to support effective treatment and prevention programs.  

The SAPT Block Grant, distributed to all States and Territories, provided treatment services for almost 2 million Americans in FY 2014.  In FY 2015, of clients discharged from treatment, over 72 percent were abstinent from illicit drugs and more than 83 percent were abstinent from alcohol.  The prevention funds included in the SAPT Block grant represent 70 percent of primary prevention funding managed by State substance abuse agencies. While the nation continues to grapple with an opioid abuse crisis of growing proportions, over the past 10 years, SAPT Block Grant funding has not kept up with inflation, resulting in a significant decrease in actual funding.    

We were pleased to see included in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 a significant increase in funding for prevention and treatment initiatives related to addressing opioid abuse.  In our view, the scope of this epidemic requires our continued focus and attention, and stemming its tide requires sufficient federal resources to help support state and local efforts.  As work moves forward on appropriations for FY 2017, we urge you to maintain the highest possible level of funding for the SAPT Block Grant.  While we understand the current constraints on federal spending, we strongly support sensible investments in effective prevention and treatment programs that will save lives, reunite families and strengthen communities.  Thank you for your attention to this urgent matter.

Activists Are Teed Off at Dominion’s Gift to Environmental Official

By Grant Smith, Capital News Service

RICHMOND – A score of environmental activists practiced their putting Wednesday outside the headquarters of the state Department of Environmental Quality, highlighting the recent controversy over Dominion Virginia Power’s paying for DEQ Director David Paylor’s trip to the Masters golf tournament in 2013.

The protesters, dressed in golf attire, displayed a Masters-inspired banner that read “Dominion & DEQ, a tradition unlike any other.” Meanwhile, other protest members boarded golf carts, shuttling between the DEQ office and Dominion’s headquarters several blocks away.

On March 14, WAMU, a public radio station in Washington, reported that Dominion paid for Paylor to attend the Masters Tournament on April 13-14, 2013, in Augusta, Ga. On his financial disclosure statement filed with the secretary of the commonwealth, Paylor estimated the trip’s value at $2,370.

Neither DEQ nor Dominion intervened in connection with the protest event that lasted for several hours Wednesday morning.

“There was some activity in front of the building today. It did not cause any disruption,” said DEQ spokesperson Bill Hayden. “We really don’t have much to say other than to reiterate that Mr. Paylor’s golf trip had nothing to do with the Dominion permits that were recently issued.”

But the protesters disagree.

“Virginia’s top environmental regulator should never have considered accepting gifts, let alone a golf vacation, from Virginia’s top polluter,” said Drew Gallagher, field organizer at the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

Over the past few months, the approval of two DEQ permits that would allow Dominion to discharge treated water from coal ash ponds into the Potomac and James rivers has drawn opposition from environmental groups, concerned citizens and some state legislators.

The disclosure of Paylor’s 2013 trip to the Masters has become a focal point for environmentalists who perceive the approval of the coal ash permits as an indicator of the influence Dominion has over politicians and regulators alike.

“I think what people see is business as usual – Dominion proposes something, and they get it despite massive overwhelming opposition,” Gallagher said.

Gallagher went on to explain the inspiration for the satirical, golf-themed protest. He cited the sit-in demonstration earlier this month when 17 students from the Virginia Student Environmental Coalition were arrested after occupying the DEQ lobby for three hours.

“We have seen several arrestable actions recently, where people have been willing to put their body in harm’s way to highlight what they see as a flawed process,” Gallagher said.

“That’s certainly an important part of effecting change, but sometimes people need to have a smile and a laugh. We thought that it would be good to take (the issue) in a lighter direction.”

Paylor has declined to comment specifically on the WAMU story. However, in an earlier statement, he said, “The people who work at DEQ take their environmental stewardship obligations seriously, and recent accusations against DEQ’s integrity are baseless.

“The quality of Virginia’s rivers and streams has improved dramatically over the years. DEQ will continue to write and enforce permits that protect Virginia’s environment in the consistent, thorough and responsible manner that Virginians deserve.”

Subscribe to RSS - 2016-3-24

Emporia News

Stories on Emporianews.com are be searchable, using the box above. All new stories will be tagged with the date (format YYYY-M-D or 2013-1-1) and the names of persons, places, institutions, etc. mentioned in the article. This database feature will make it easier for those people wishing to find and re-read an article.  For anyone wishing to view previous day's pages, you may click on the "Previous Day's Pages" link in the menu at the top of the page, or search by date (YYYY-M-D format) using the box above.

Comment Policy:  When an article or poll is open for comments feel free to leave one.  Please remember to be respectful when you comment (no foul or hateful language, no racial slurs, etc) and keep our comments safe for work and children. Comments are moderated and comments that contain explicit or hateful words will be deleted.  IP addresses are tracked for comments. 

EmporiaNews.com serves Emporia and Greensville County, Virginia and the surrounding area
and is provided as a community service by the Advertisers and Sponsors.
All material on EmporiaNews.com is copyright 2005-2019
EmporiaNews.com is powered by Drupal and based on the ThemeBrain Sirate Theme.

Submit Your Story!

Emporia News welcomes your submissions!  You may submit articles, announcements, school or sports information or community calendar events via e-mail on news@emporianews.com. 

Contact us at news@emporianews.com
 
EmporiaNews.com is hosted as a community Service by Telpage.  Visit their website at www.telpage.net or call (434)634-5100 (NOTICE: Telpage cannot help you with questions about Emporia New nor does Teplage have any input the content of Emporia News.  Please use the e-mail address above if you have any questions, comments or concerns about the content on Emporia News.)