Our Commonwealth must make mental health and substance use disorder top priorities, and make sure that Virginia becomes a top state in providing resources to any Virginian who needs them. Increasing education and acceptance among Virginians is a necessity. We must work to destigmatize these disorders and work to increase awareness and interventions.
Additionally, we need to prioritize treatment over incarceration. I will introduce and work to pass legislation to increase the number of Drug Courts within the Commonwealth, which will help reduce the incarceration rates for non-violent drug related offenses. On average, Virginia’s Drug Courts save around $19,000 per person, as compared to traditional case processing. These savings can be utilized as increased funding and availability of community services boards, which provide treatment for mental health disorders and substance use disorder and addiction.