Valley Community Services Board provides resources with the Begin with Hope campaign

AUGUSTA COUNTY, Va. (WHSV) – “If you don’t know where to start…start with hope.” This is the slogan of a campaign launched by Valley Community Services Board to prevent substance abuse and addiction.

The Begin with Hope campaign, funded by a state Opioid Response Grant, was created last year to raise awareness in the community about stimulant abuse.

The website contains resources for people in difficulty or their loved ones who wish to seek help.

“With our campaign, we hope this raises awareness, but we also provide medicine lock boxes and medicine disposal kits at no cost to the community so people can safely store or dispose of their medicines,” Erin Botkin, prevention services coordinator for Valley Community Services Board, said.

According to the Valley Community Services Board, the latest reported data shows that between 2017 and 2019, the Staunton, Augusta and Waynesboro area averaged just over seven deaths, or nearly six deaths per 100,000 residents.

These figures have increased compared to the previous year.

Additionally, according to the VCSB, in 2019 nearly 50% of reported methamphetamine-related overdose deaths involved fentanyl.

“We know there’s both cross-use or concurrent use of both substances and also potential tampering with methamphetamines with fentanyl, which is, you know, incredibly problematic,” said Jeff Robbins, nurse practitioner.

Begin with Hope was created to try and help curve those numbers.

“Part of our Begin with Hope campaign is if you don’t know where to start, start with hope and there is always hope for that recovery also for people struggling with substance use issues. substances,” Botkin said.

The campaign has resources for abuse prevention and assistance, and also focuses on recovery.

They participate in the take back medicine initiative every year and have drop boxes and lock boxes for you to dispose of or lock your prescriptions.

“If you’ve had enough, get treated, no matter the substance, we have a program that can help you,” Robbins said.

If you or someone you know needs help with addiction, addiction or prevention, go to their website or call 540-887-3200.

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