Woman helps others in recovery, while investigators target drugs in Valley


PAGE COUNTY (WHSV) — At 15 years outdated, Erica Barnes of Winchester began consuming and smoking.

“I began off with easy issues, but it surely went to tougher medicine fairly shortly,” Barnes stated.

Barnes, like many others, found entry to narcotics, and her use progressed into tougher medicine, like heroin and methamphetamine.

“Considering again, it’s simply actually scary to place your self in conditions the place you’re driving down the road and have 10, 15 individuals come as much as your automotive, and might’t wait so that you can get what they’ve,” Barnes stated.

Some investigators within the northern Shenandoah Valley level to the Baltimore space as the primary supply of bringing medicine into the area.

For the reason that begin of 2021, the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Job Drive has made a number of arrests, getting what they are saying is 1000’s of {dollars} price of unlawful medicine off the road.

The duty pressure is made up of a number of legislation enforcement companies, together with Web page County Sheriff’s Workplace, Shenandoah County Sheriff’s Workplace, Luray Police Division, Strasburg Police Division and Virginia State Police to call a couple of.

Over the previous few years, the duty pressure has generated a whole bunch of legal investigations; starting from undercover operations, search warrants and overdose investigations.

In keeping with the duty pressure:

  • 590 legal investigations had been generated in 2016
  • 708 legal investigations had been generated in 2017
  • 786 legal investigations had been generated in 2018
  • 831 legal investigations had been generated in 2019
  • 875 legal investigations had been generated in 2020

A few of these operations contain brokers going undercover for managed buy operations.

“The job’s not achieved but,” stated Web page County Sheriff Chad Cubbage, whose division is concerned with the duty pressure. “We’ve got a protracted technique to go.”

Joshua Value with Virginia State Police says methamphetamine is trafficked into the Valley from surrounding states. He provides that drug trafficking organizations make the most of highways like Interstate 81 to maneuver narcotics.

On the subject of what number of medicine/firearms the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Job Drive has seized:

  • $415,168 (in avenue worth) price of unlawful narcotics and 105 firearms in 2017
  • $436,383 (in avenue worth) price of unlawful narcotics and 58 firearms in 2018
  • $914,913 (in avenue worth) price of unlawful narcotics and 27 firearms in 2019
  • $919,559 (in avenue worth) price of unlawful narcotics and 67 firearms in 2020

Whereas investigators proceed to work to stop unlawful substances from coming into the Valley, individuals like Erica Barnes are working laborious via restoration.

“In a bit over two years, I obtained my children again,” Barnes stated. “I obtained my garments. I obtained every little thing again that I misplaced.”

The only mom of 4 was incarcerated 17 occasions, and at one level skilled homelessness.

“I keep in mind going into the jail and once I went in, I wasn’t on heroin,” Barnes stated. “I had [chosen] meth as a result of I used to be actually, actually sick off the heroin, and the meth took that away. And being awake for 5 days, I regarded like a skeleton. I used to be simply so drained. However one of many officers — they referred to individuals like me as “frequent flyers,” or those that they see over and over. And one among them stated, ‘Oh that is quantity 17. Can’t look ahead to quantity 18.’ And one thing simply hit me.”

That’s when drug remedy courtroom grew to become an choice, and Barnes entered a strict restoration housing program.

In the present day, she has been sober for 2 years and 4 months, and operates her personal family, whereas strengthening her relationship along with her youngsters.

“I simply all the time sit in entrance of my home, like, that is my home,” stated Barnes. “That is mine.”

Now, she’s utilizing her personal experiences and energy to assist others combating dependancy and restoration.

“You don’t should be afraid anymore,” stated Barnes. “Folks wish to assist. They wish to see individuals reside. We’re bored with seeing individuals die. If you happen to simply attain out for assist, it’s there. You don’t should really feel responsible, you don’t should really feel ashamed of your previous.”

On Could 15, Barnes will formally turn out to be an authorized “peer restoration” specialist.

If you happen to or somebody is prepared for restoration, listed below are a couple of sources:

Copyright 2021 WHSV. All rights reserved.



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