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Virginia, one of the original 13 colonies, is a state rich with cultural history. From the Chesapeake Bay to the Appalachian Mountains, the beauty and culture of Virginia enrich the lives of its 8.5 million residents.

But for many Virginians, addiction brings destruction and pain upon their lives. Rates of drug and alcohol addiction in Virginia reveal the need for comprehensive treatment options.

Virginia drug and alcohol addiction treatment programs can help a person regain control over their life. These programs and services help individuals and their families to heal, cope and rebuild healthier lives.

Virginia Substance Use Statistics

Far too many Virginia residents struggle under the weight of addiction. Like much of the nation, the opioid epidemic has ravaged lives and communities all across Virginia.

The Opioid Epidemic

In 2016, 1,420 people died of drug overdoses in Virginia, an increase of 38 percent from the year before. State health officials believe this upward trend is due largely to heroin, prescription fentanyl, and synthetic opioid use.

Opioid overdose deaths have increased dramatically since 2010, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse:

  • Heroin-related overdose deaths have increased tenfold, rising from 45 to 450 deaths.
  • Synthetic-opioid-related deaths are nearly 7.5 times more frequent, having climbed from 87 to 648 deaths.

Prior to 2013, most fentanyl-related deaths in Virginia were due to prescription fentanyl. Fentanyl and fentanyl analogues are now appearing in toxicology screens far more frequently. One such drug is carfentanil, a deadly fentanyl analogue 100 times more potent than fentanyl.

Opioid overdoses affect all ages, but Virginians aged 25 to 34 experience this toll more heavily than others. This age group visits the emergency department more frequently for opioid overdoses, has higher rates of heroin and fentanyl overdoses and higher rates of HIV, a disease that can be transmitted by sharing needles to inject opioid drugs.

Other Forms Of Substance Use

The most recent Behavioral Health Barometer for Virginia reported on alcohol and illicit drug use in Virginians for the years 2013 and 2014.

Alcohol use disorders: Almost half a million Virginians aged 12 or older struggled with alcohol use or dependency. At 7.1 percent of this age group, this number is slightly higher than the national average for this same period.

Illicit drug use disorders: Roughly 171,000 people aged 12 or older, or 2.5 percent of this age group, had problems with illicit drug use or dependency. Illicit drugs used in Virginia include marijuana, methamphetamine and cocaine, including crack.

Virginia Addiction Awareness Campaigns

Virginia received $9.76 million in federal grant funding from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in the spring of 2018. These funds will be used to fight the opioid epidemic by strengthening partnerships between public safety and public health officials, in addition to other preventative measures.

Additionally, the Project AWARE (Advancing Wellness and Resilience in Education) grant provides funding for a youth-based outreach campaign. As part of this initiative, Virginia adults are trained in “youth mental health first aid,” a continuum of care that helps to prevent and identify substance use so the appropriate treatments can be administered.

In April 2018, Wise County became the first Virginia county to be approved for a needle exchange program. Needle exchange programs help to reduce the spread of transmissible diseases like HIV/AIDS by providing people who inject drugs with sterile needles and supplies. This approval comes after the federal government deemed the county one of eight Virginia localities at high risk for these diseases.

Virginia Addiction Treatment Programs

The primary goal of substance use treatment is to help a person’s body and mind heal so that they’re better able to create and maintain a sober life. Just as addiction takes time to form, so does it take time to build a strong set of sober-living skills.

Individualized treatment programs build on a continuum of care that addresses a person’s specific needs. The most effective Virginia addiction treatment programs respect and address a person’s emotional, mental, physical and social needs. The following is a list of services and therapies that may be used to deliver this customized care model.

Intervention Services

Addiction changes the brain in such a way that it can become hard for a person to think clearly and realize that they need help. Virginia intervention services help guide families toward the best ways to get help to loved ones in these situations. An interventionist will work with the family to plan the intervention, research treatment options and get the person to treatment.

Drug And Alcohol Detox Programs

Without professional medical support, a person is far more likely to relapse after they quit using drugs or alcohol. Virginia medically supported detoxification programs can help people to more safely and comfortably transition through this period.

Medications are commonly used to reduce or prevent cravings or other unbearable symptoms of withdrawal. Withdrawal from alcohol, benzodiazepines, and opioids can be particularly dangerous, and a medically supported drug and alcohol detox program will provide supervision and support to ensure patient safety.

Inpatient Addiction Treatment

A Virginia inpatient drug rehab program can be one of the most effective treatment options for drug and alcohol addiction. The residential format and increased access to addiction treatment specialists and peer support typically give a person more opportunities to develop recovery skills.

Addiction treatment and recovery can be challenging. Virginia inpatient addiction treatment programs recognize this and build their treatment plans accordingly. In high-quality programs, trained clinicians and therapists help each resident to develop an arsenal of recovery skills and relapse-prevention tools that meets the demands of their life.

Outpatient Addiction Treatment

Virginia outpatient addiction treatment centers offer flexible treatment options that help many people live sober lives. Outpatient drug rehab isn’t typically as rigorous or supportive as inpatient care. For this reason, outpatient addiction treatment is often best used as a step-down level of care following an inpatient program.

When used this way, outpatient drug rehab helps a person to more successfully transition from fully supervised residential treatment to independent living. These programs keep a person grounded in recovery principles so they are better prepared to fight for abstinence during early recovery.

Aftercare And Alumni Services

Virginia aftercare and alumni support services can help a person achieve their recovery goals after completing an addiction treatment program. Peer support groups, alumni mentorship programs, community outreach programs, and sober living homes are a few examples of resources that may be built into aftercare and alumni support programs.

Specialized Virginia Addiction Treatment Programs

Medication-Assisted Treatment

Buprenorphine-based medications (Suboxone) and methadone are two drugs frequently used as maintenance medications to help a person maintain recovery from opioid drug use. In this capacity, medications are combined with behavioral therapies, and, in certain cases, social support programs.

Virginia Dual-Diagnosis Programs

Individuals who are struggling to recover from both a substance use disorder and a mental health disorder—known as co-occurring disorders—typically have greater opportunities for healing in a dual-diagnosis treatment program. The most effective of these programs use evidence-based behavioral therapies to support positive growth and healing.

Gender-Specific Treatment

Gender-specific programs focus on the issues and challenges that can be unique to treatment participants. Additionally, Virginia LGBTQ-friendly addiction treatment programs offer a welcoming space for individuals who desire this community-minded care.

Virginia Addiction Treatment Therapies

Behavioral therapies make up the foundation of treatment in many Virginia addiction treatment programs.

Examples of evidence-based addiction treatment therapies include:

These psychotherapies help a person to explore the ways their thoughts, emotions, and behaviors have been influenced by their addiction. In turn, this helps them to think and act in a more positive way that supports sobriety. Sessions are typically offered in an individual, group or family setting.

Many programs also offer alternative therapies to strengthen the skills taught in behavioral therapy and enhance overall wellness.

These alternative therapies may include complementary therapies like:

  • Acupuncture
  • Equine therapy
  • Journaling
  • Meditation
  • Mindfulness and stress management practices
  • Yoga

Many Virginia programs integrate nutrition education, exercise, and recreational activities to further support mind-body-spirit balance and healing. Two dynamic examples include adventure and wilderness therapies.

Finding The Best Virginia Addiction Treatment

Treatment Length

Each person enrolling in treatment comes from a different walk of life. This diversity means that every person in treatment has different needs, including the length and form of treatment.

Certain individuals pursue short-term addiction treatment, such as 30-day programs, due to financial concerns or other personal reasons. While these programs can be successful, research shows that long-term treatment lasting three months or more produces better results.


The thought of traveling for treatment can seem intimidating, however, many people find that doing so helps them to focus more fully on their recovery. Rehab programs that are in the same community—or even state—where a person lives can make it easier to entertain thoughts of quitting treatment or relapsing during treatment. Traveling to a program helps to remove these temptations while giving a person more high-quality options for treatment and greater privacy.

Payment Options

A variety of payment options are available to help a person obtain treatment. Private pay contributions can be decreased by using medical insurance to pay for addiction treatment.

Insurance providers that offer coverage in Virginia may include:

  • Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield
  • CareFirst
  • Cigna HealthCare
  • Kaiser Permanente

Scholarships and grants, financing options and sliding-scale fees are other options that can help make a person’s treatment needs a reality.

Virginia addiction treatment programs can help a person to find personal fulfillment, healthier relationships, and sobriety. Vertava Health offers effective, compassionate treatment in several states across the country, and we can help people find the care they need—wherever they are.