Seventy-seven Prince William residents are currently on the county’s waiting list for help with substance abuse treatment and will likely remain waiting for an average of 95 days.Prince William Supervisor Frank Principi sought Tuesday to shorten that waiting time with $200,000 in funding for the county’s Community Services division to hire two extra counselors, expand its medication-assistance program – which provides opioid addicts with Suboxone and Vivitrol – and strengthen its outreach efforts.
But Principi’s proposal was blocked Dec. 12 when his fellow supervisors decided to defer a decision on the extra money until Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) and the Trump administration reveal more details about new state and federal funding that might be coming down the pike to assist the county’s substance-abuse treatment efforts.
Only the board’s two Democrats – Principi and Supervisor John Jenkins, D-Neabsco — voted against the delay. Board Chairman Corey Stewart, R-At Large, was absent from the meeting because he spent Monday and Tuesday in Alabama, campaigning for Judge Roy Moore, the Republican candidate who lost a special election for U.S. Senate on Tuesday to Democrat Doug Jones.
Prior to the vote, Al Wooten, director of the county’s Community Services division, told the supervisors the county’s wait list for substance-abuse treatment is growing. Of the 748 clients the community services division helped with substance abuse treatment this year, 261, or 35 percent, sought help with opioid abuse…
…Principi said he also worries that because the county is doing no real outreach to publicize available services, they’re only scratching the surface of the potential need among county residents for help with opioid addiction.
“The fact is that we are giving short shrift to families who are struggling with what is probably the most upsetting thing in their lives,” Principi said. “And we don’t have the adequate staff needed to turn the tide in Prince William County.”