“No matter how far wrong you’ve gone, you can always turn around.” -Bill Callahan

What’s New

Pictured from left to right: CEO of the United Way of the Northern Shenandoah Valley Nadine Pottinga, Public Defender Tim Coyne, Judge Beth Kellas, Executive Director of the NSVSAC Lauren Cummings, and NSVSAC Executive Committee Member Steve Cluss.

United Way Presents Substance Abuse Coalition with a Check for the Drug Treatment Court
The United Way of the Northern Shenandoah Valley presented the Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition on May 20th with a check for $25,000 to support the treatment of participants in the Drug Treatment Court which will begin operation in July.
Making an Impact: United Way NSV Announces 2016-2017 Impact Grant Awards

Public Service Announcements
You can hear the following Public Service Announcements by the Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition on 92.5 WINC FM, B105 (104.9 and 105.5 FM), NewsTalk 1400, and on WINC TV Comcast Cable 15.

Valley Feedback
Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition Executive Director Lauren Cummings appeared on the Centennial Broadcasting Valley Feedback Show to talk about the efforts of the Coalition.

CVS Pharmacies Sell Naloxone Without a Prescription
CVS Pharmacies in Virginia are now selling the overdose reversal drug Naloxone without a prescription.  Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition Executive Director Lauren Cummings was interviewed by WHAG-TV about this new development.  Click here to see the story.

The Addiction Crisis: A Community’s Response

The Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association hosted a statewide webinar on April 20, 2016 to highlight the efforts of the Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition.  More than 300 individuals from across the Commonwealth listened as Dr. Nicolas Restrepo, VP of Medical Affairs at Winchester Medical Center, Winchester Police Chief Kevin Sanzenbacher, and Public Defender Tim Coyne discussed the intersecting factors associated with opiate misuse, and the ways our community is combating the issue.

VHHA Opioid Webinar Presentation COVER

View the video by Google Drive Link or by the YouTube link or the PDF Download.


April 25, 2016
Substance Abuse Coalition Reports Increase in Heroin Overdoses

The Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition is warning the public about the dangers of heroin use after seven people in the Northwest region have overdosed in the past five days.  From April 18th – April 24th law enforcement responded to seven heroin overdoses, none of which were fatal.  On April 20th, deputies with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office responded to two overdoses that happened within 30 minutes of each other and were able to give the victims a dose of the overdose reversal drug naloxone.  One of the victims was 6 months pregnant.  The other recent overdoses occurred in Shenandoah County (2) and the City of Winchester (3).  Overdose deaths in our region are down from this time last year, when nine were reported by the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Force.  Overdose injuries, however, are up, from 15 injuries last year, to 28 injuries this year.

The Coalition recognizes that if it were not for naloxone the death toll in our area would be much higher.  Frederick County Sheriff’s Deputies were trained in February to administer the lifesaving prescription medication.  Since then, they have successfully administered it four times.  The Clarke County Sheriff’s Office and Berryville Police Department are planning to train their deputies and officers on administering naloxone.

While the Coalition has seen a decrease in the number of overdose deaths in the Northern Shenandoah Valley, the organization finds the recent overdoses concerning.  Friends and family members of individuals struggling with the disease of addiction are encouraged to seek help for their loved ones by visiting roadtorecovery.info or calling CONCERN HOTLINE at 540-667-0745.

Georgia Man Walks Across America to Raise Awareness of Drug Overdoses
A Georgia man will venture through parts of the Northern Shenandoah Valley on his journey across the country in honor of his sister who died of a heroin overdose. Brett Bramble, 31, started his walk across America on March 13th in Delaware. Brett’s sister, Brittany Bramble-McNatt died March 15, 2014 of a drug overdose and left behind three children. Brett is hoping to save lives by sharing his sister’s story. On March 24th he will walk through parts of Berryville, and he will continue his quest on March 25th when the road takes him through Frederick County and the City of Winchester.  Click here for the press release.

Winchester Featured in DC News Series
WJLA ABC7 recently did a week-long series titled Heroin Highway about the drug’s impact on Baltimore, Hagerstown, Martinsburg and Winchester.  Click here for the Winchester segment.  Click here for the link to see the entire series.

Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition’s Executive Director Featured on Faces of Winchester on WINLifeTV
Lauren Cummings sat down with Host Gary Auerbach to talk about the disease of addiction and the efforts of the Substance Abuse Coalition.  Click here to see the full interview.

Life Catalyst Program
Life Catalyst Promotional Flyer 2016

is designed to help people overcome setbacks and addictions and aid individuals in being productive in society and content in their lives. The curriculum is down-to-earth and easy to learn. The instructors are caring individuals who have overcome difficulties in their own life experiences. All classes are 100% FREE and open to anyone seeking help.

Efforts to Curb the Nations Deadly Heroin Epidemic
The Diane Rehm Show on National Public Radio recently focused on the heroin epidemic and featured a panel of experts, including Virginia State Police Sgt. Jay Perry of the Northwest Regional Drug Task Force.

Overdose Death Linked to Abuse of Anti-Diarrheal Medication
January 8, 2016

Substance Abuse Coalition Announces Executive Director
November 30th, 2015

“Heroin: The Hardest Hit”
Heroin-the Hardest HitAttorney General Mark R. Herring is proud to present Heroin: The Hardest Hit, a powerful documentary on the heroin and prescription drug epidemic and its effects on Virginians. The film examines the epidemic from all angles with Virginians sharing their own stories of addiction and overdose, testimony from parents who lost their children to an overdose, and insights from law enforcement and public health professionals who are working to address the crisis.  To request a free DVD of Heroin: The Hardest Hit click here.

Partnership for Drug Free Kids:
Getting Help for a Loved One; Parenting, Mindfulness + Parenting; Raising Daughters; Raising Sons; and Memoirs.

Task Force Warns of Dangerous Designer Drug

Click Here for the Press Release

Making Progress

The General Assembly also passed legislation this year to expand access to naloxone so that family members and other individuals can possess and use naloxone to reverse an opioid overdose at home or in the community.

The Board of Pharmacy has approved a “Protocol for the Prescribing and Dispensing of Naloxone”


Substance Abuse Groups at Northwestern Community Services
If you are interested in a NWCS group, please contact the call center at (540) 636-4250, ext. 2414 for all the groups and request to have an intake scheduled.  You do not need to know which group will most meet your needs.  That will be discussed during the intake process.  Click below for more information on these substance abuse groups.
New Mother’s Substance Abuse Educational Group
Women’s Mental Health and Substance Abuse Program
Motivational Enhancement Substance Abuse Group

Families on the Road to Recovery

A support group called Families on the Road to Recovery has recently formed for families of loved ones who are struggling with addiction and for family members who have lost a loved one to addiction.  Meetings are held on the second and fourth Tuesday of every month at 6:30 p.m. at Winchester Church of God (2080 N. Frederick Pike, Winchester, VA) behind the church at Dingus Hall in Family Life Center.  Each meeting will include speakers on a variety of topics.  All are welcome.  Click here to learn more by liking the Families on the Road to Recovery Facebook page.

Perspectives from community members impacted by the addiction epidemic.

The Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition held a Community Leadership Action Summit on November 18th in the Winchester Medical Center Conference Center. Local elected officials and community leaders learned more about the scope of the opioid and heroin addiction problem in our community and considered concrete solutions to address it.  Click here to see the information that was presented.

Community Forum on Heroin
View the video release of the Community Forum on Heroin which was held on March 31st in the Stimpson Auditorium at Shenandoah  University. (Mobilizing to Address the Addiction Challenge)

What is addiction? Addiction is defined as a chronic, relapsing brain disease characterized by compulsive drug seeking and use, despite harmful consequences. It is considered a brain disease because drugs change the brain—they change its structure and how it works. Addiction results largely from brain changes that stem from prolonged drug use—changes that involve multiple brain circuits, including those responsible for governing self-control and other behaviors.

Addiction is treatable, often with medications (for some addictions) combined with behavioral therapies. However, relapse is common and can happen even after long periods of abstinence, underscoring the need for long-term support and care. Relapse does not signify treatment failure, but rather should prompt treatment re-engagement or modification. This website is one of a variety of awareness and education initiatives to inform the community about the disease of addiction, promote prevention, and offer helpful resources—locally and beyond.

Heroin Overdose Deaths 2014
Heroin Overdose Deaths 2015

Addiction Recovery Assistance