Virginia crime report: Marijuana arrests down for teens, but arrests for heroin up for some ages

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Virginia State Police released crime statistics from 2015 on Thursday.

We took a look at drug statistics in the report and compared 2015's crime report to 2014's.

It showed that juvenile arrests for drug offenses in Roanoke County slightly went down, while city of Roanoke stayed mostly flat.

The report also showed arrests for marijuana among young adults went down across the state, but arrests for heroin went up slightly for some ages.

The report also shows violent crime increased by less than 1 percent from the previous year. Violent crime includes murder, rape, robbery and aggravated assault. Homicides alone increased from 337 to 382, an increase of 13.4 percent. The property crime category includes burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft. Those crimes were down a little more than 2 percent.

Experts in our area say drugs are an ongoing issue they're trying to solve.

Katie LeSauvage is a parent and plans to teach her kids about the dangers of drug use.

"That ability to maintain that level of independence and stability in life. Housing issues, employment issues so theirs all sorts of cost that come with use,” LeSauvage said.

We told her about the crime report that showed heroin arrests for ages 20 to 24 went up slightly in 2015 compared to 2014 across the state.

"That holds people to a certain level of accountability and could maybe prevent long-term use or other sorts of consequences that can come from continued use,” LeSauvage said.

Kathy Sullivan is the director of the Roanoke Area Youth Substance Abuse Coalition.

"I think heroin use is definitely on the rise in the Roanoke Valley and in Virginia and really nationwide it's at epidemic levels,” Sullivan said.

According to a local study, one in 14 teens have used heroin in their lifetime.

Seventy-nine percent of youths who used heroin in their life also used prescription drugs in the past 30 days.

Sullivan thinks parents need to be aware.

"We think in the back of our heads that somebody is on the street corner, it's in your neighborhood, it could be the best friends of your children, so we're just trying to make people aware of the dangers and that it is happening around here,” Sullivan said.

Sullivan said they recently received a $600,000 grant to help combat heroin and prescription drug abuse in our area.

She and LeSauvage hopes it creates change in our community and around the state.

"Having young ones and to think we already have one in the school system and the other one will be entering in a couple of years, I'm just hoping it becomes a safer place where drugs are not a prevalent,” LeSauvage said.

Click here to see the Virginia State Police 2015 Crime Report.