CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC) — Law enforcement throughout Central Virginia have found a unique way to reverse the uptick in drug overdoses with the help of recovering addicts.

According to a recent report from the Virginia Department of Health, drug overdoses are still the leading cause of unnatural death in Virginia. That’s more than gun-related and motor vehicle-related deaths combined.

Here in Chesterfield County you will find Officer Travis Adams and Joy Bogese working side by side searching abandoned buildings and connecting people with the resources they need.

Joy Bogese will be celebrating seven years clean next week since battling a heroin addiction and being incarcerated. Now she wants to use her experience to meet others where they are and show them that there are resources out there to help.

Photo of Officer Travis Adams and Peer Recovery Specialist Joy Bogese sitting on their ride along. Credit: Rolynn Wilson

“Whatever I can connect you with and support you through, that’s what we are here for,” Bogese said. “Any of us are here for that.”

Both Bogese and Adams recognize the needs for each individual may be different, and their role is to bring the community together and give those struggling a glimmer of hope.

“Everybody’s journey looks different, so we just try to facilitate that and make that happen as easily as possible for them,” Bogese said.

In response to the recent uptick in overdoses, health districts have provided additional information and cautionary actions that can be taken should be overdose occur.

How to respond to an overdose:

  • Administer naloxone nasal spray, if available
  • Call 9-1-1 immediately for help and stay on the line as instructed
  • Follow the directions of the 9-1-1 dispatcher. They may ask for:
    • Rescue breathing and/or chest compressions if the victim is unresponsive and not breathing normally
    • Administer a second dose of naloxone if the person doesn’t respond to the first dose in 2-3 minutes
  • Roll the victim on their side to help prevent them from aspirating or choking if they vomit