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Attorney general asks VTC researchers how to prevent addiction

Attorney general asks VTC researchers how to prevent addiction

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20160407_MET_HARW_JM01 (copy)

Attorney General Mark Herring on Wednesday told Virginia Tech Carilion researchers that he wanted to better understand the science of addiction since it is not just a law enforcement issue, but a public health epidemic.

Herring wanted to find out what works for treatment and prevention.

"One of the things I heard several times this afternoon is that one size doesn't fit all with drug treatment. I think we have to be open to different approaches and what may be successful for one person might not be successful for another," Herring said. "We need to make sure there are a lot of different options available for people whether they are participating in a drug court or come in voluntarily from outside the criminal justice system."

Researchers Read Montague, Warren Bickel and Pearl Chiu also explained to Herring that broad prevention programs aimed at all teens are not effective.

"Teenagers don't react well to risk warnings," Montague said.

"Your peer group is very important in moving you to risky behavior," Chiu said. "It can also push you the safe side."

Bickel said he is seeking to work with a school system to determine if they can identify particular kids at risk for addiction and then target specific programs.

Herring on Tuesday was in Abingdon for a screening of the documentary "Heroin: The Hardest Hit," that shows how the rise in heroin and prescription drug addictions has affected Virginia.

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