Drug overdose deaths reach all-time high

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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) -- A record in the United States was broken last year, but not a record anyone is excited about. Last year in the U.S., more people died than ever before from drug overdoses.

More than 50,000 people lost their lives from the effects of overdoses.

Nearly every category of drug deaths from overdoses rose in 2015. From heroin to synthetic opioids to prescription painkillers, they all spiked this year compared to last.

Opioid addiction in Virginia was declared a public health emergency.

Locally, leaders in the Valley see this as not just 50,000 people dead, but 50,000 fathers, sons, mothers, and daughters torn from their families.

"I think about the next generation coming up, and those who have lost family members, and what toll that will take on individuals, and children that will lose relationships with their parents, and how they move forward," said Rebekah Brubaker, who works with the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Community Services Board.

At the Harrisonburg-Rockingham Community Services Board, they have implemented a new outreach position.

This person goes into the community to try and help drug users, right in their own communities.

A major part of the spike in overdoses is an ongoing epidemic of opioid addiction. You can learn more about that, its effects on the area, how to fight that addiction, and much more in the Related Stories section of this article.

Read the original version of this article at whsv.com.