Virginia State Delegate John Bell
State Delegate John Bell’s office submitted these responses to the American Opioid Podcast on 2/22/2019 1:04:51 PM.
What district of Virginia do you represent?
Briefly, how would you describe the opioid crisis in your state?
It is a severe crisis that is impacting every region, ethic, income and age group in Virginia.
What are the two or three most significant bills that have been introduced in your chamber to help alleviate the opioid crisis in your state?
2017 Session House Bills 1493, 1898, 2163 and 2165
What was your involvement, if any, in those bills (e.g., introduction, advocacy, vote pledge)?
Chief Patron, Chief Co-Patron or Co-Patron
Have any of the bills passed? If not, why?
Yes, all of the referenced bills. I also was involved in related bills in the 2018/19 legislative sessions.
What was the most memorable experience you had while learning about the opioid crisis in your state?
My son suffered from opioid addiction which ultimately led to his death. At my son Joshua’s request we openly shared his struggle to help others and have spoken at a number of functions throughout Virginia, have hosted films such as Heroin the Hardest Hit and Chasing the Dragon, I have also done a number of interviews and Op-Eds and participated in several documentaries.
If you had a magic wand that allowed you to pass any legislation you wanted in order to help alleviate the opioid crisis in your state, what would that legislation look like?
Immediate electronic reporting of all opioids with the ability to flag physicians who are over prescribing and to also help those who may be seeking prescriptions to fuel an active addiction.
Are there any additional thoughts you would like to share?
I am passionate about helping others with the addiction crisis. My family has suffered the tragic death of my son due to this crisis so it a very personal issue. At my son’s request I am committed to using my position to help others who suffer from addiction and perhaps most importantly to take away the stigma of addiction. In my journey I’ve met many families who are ashamed or afraid to openly seek help. I strongly believe that healing is in the sunlight and not the shadows and we must do all we can to remove the stigma from the disease of addiction.