Heroin, Prescription Abuse Focus of Fairfax County Town Hall

by Karen Goff May 2, 2016 at 4:30 pm 23 Comments

Fairfax County AmbulanceIn Virginia, more people die from heroin overdoses than car crashes each year, state officials say.

Fairfax County is no exception, where the number of drug overdoses is rapidly increasing.

Fairfax County officials said there was one day earlier this year where fire and recuse personnel was called to four overdoses in one day.

That is why Fairfax County is hosting a Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse Town Hall Tuesday, May 3 at 7:30 p.m. The town hall is at the Fairfax County Government Center, 12000 Government Center Parkway in Fairfax. It will also be broadcast of Fairfax County Channel 16.

Heroin is a public health crisis in our community and around the nation and Fairfax County is working to address it,” Pat Herrity, Springfield Supervisor, said in a release. “The problem is in your neighborhood. It is occurring across the county, not just in “bad” neighborhoods. … Education and public awareness are important parts of combating this growing crisis. Seventy percent of heroin addicts reportedly start with prescription drugs.”

Some county stats show the local increase in usage and overdoses:

  • In Northern Virginia, heroin-related deaths increased 164 percent (between 2011 and 2013).
  • In Fairfax County, there was a 22-percent increase in the number of people who needed services from use of heroin, non-prescription methadone, and/or other opiates (between 2011 and 2014).
  • In Fairfax County, the number of deaths from heroin overdose doubled (between 2013 and 2014).
  • Fairfax County Fire and Rescue responded to 291 suspected heroin overdoses across the county (between 2011 and 2014)

The town hall will raise awareness of the dangers of heroin and prescription drug abuse, discuss the steps being taken to address the crisis, and the practical steps that can be taken by our citizens and their families to reduce the growing epidemic.

There will be presentations by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on what they are seeing at the national level including warning signs; the Fairfax County Police Department (FCPD), on what we are seeing in our community and their response; Community Services Board (CSB) on how to get help, including their life saving REVIVE! Program;  and Substance Abuse & Addiction Recovery Alliance’s (SAARA) Nick Yacoub and Ginny Lovitt with the Chris Atwood Foundation with personal perspectives on addiction.

There will also be brief updates from Herrity, the Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County, Del. Tim Hugo, and Rep. Barbara Comstock and a discussion period where the audience can ask questions.

  • Paul

    The US Government should pass “common sense” drug laws and make the possession, manufacture, sale, and use of heroin illegal, if it saves just one life it’s worth the effort. I’m glad that the County Government is holding a Town Hall Meeting to raise the awareness of the dangers of heroin use.

    • Quint

      Pretty sure all of those things is already illegal. True of marijuana too; it accomplished nothing.

      • Paul

        If those things is already illegal then why are people doing drugs? Is there no respect for the law? Maybe the Executive Branch should issue an order. Or maybe the FFX City school board should write a letter.

        Or maybe we need to accept that people do what they want regardless of laws and some just don’t make the best decisions. Next step is to accept the consequences.

  • Mike M

    I was a teenager in the 70s. By the 1980s it seemed to me that everyone knew heroin to be the most hellish drug as well as the most addictive. There were some who fell prey in my town, but it was extremely rare. Why the massive comeback? What draws kids to it in the first place? I’m not hearing that. How does it go from prescription to street junk?

    • Chuck Morningwood

      People get drawn to Heroin for a number of reasons: peer pressure, bigger bang, money. Many of these powerful drugs like Heroin and Oxycontin are not only highly addictive but also have a very strong physical addiction. Drugs like Marijuana, or even Cocaine, while addictive, have virtually no consequences to the body for the sudden withdrawal. Not so with Heroin, Oxycontin (aka Hillbilly Heroin) and, for the worst off Drunks, Alcohol. With these drugs, there is significant and long-lasting physical withdrawal which can be dangerous if not managed.

      My own take on much of the Heroin problem is based on its highly addictive nature. A person tries it a few times, but becomes hooked quickly. Once that happens, it’s very difficult to quit without professional assistance.

      • Quint

        Another reason for the change is that doctors are far more willing to prescribe opiates now than they used to be. Part of that was actually pressure from the drug companies themselves, who are profiting pretty handsomely from the insurance-compensated increases in opiate dispersal.

        Once the legitimate route dries up, some people turn to the illegitimate route since it’s more potent and easier to acquire (ironically).

  • Quint

    Not sure there’s a problem that a flood of heroine for anyone who wants it wouldn’t eventually solve. Cleanup might be grim though.

  • meh

    The people in charge are focused on issues that are important to themselves, getting felons to vote, making all bathrooms unisex, forming boycotts when someone is offended. Their children being addicted to opiates is not an important issue to them.

    • Quint

      The people you describe are probably wealth enough that their kids either never get addicted to opiates, or they go to fancy rehab facilities when they do.

  • Ming the Merciless

    Hardly anyone is in prison for “simple possession”. They are mostly in there for serious (and often violent) crimes and also drug possession. It is therefore not a “waste of money” to keep them in prison. If they are “treated” for their drug problems, they will likely remain lowlife scum.

    • Chuck Morningwood

      Because retribution is more important than rehabilitation when it comes to dealing with people who will sooner or later return to society.

      • Ming the Merciless

        In many cases the best thing for society is to keep the scum isolated from society until they are too old to make trouble.

        • Trump Voter

          Addiction does not know age. You sound like someone who has little education, empathy. Based on handle there also pride in promoting your ignorance.

          • Ming the Merciless

            I do not empathize with criminals. I empathize with their victims.

            “Addiction” does not and should not excuse criminal action.

    • Quint

      You are stating complete lies as facts. The least you could have done is posted some farcical breitbart article to back it up. Many people are in jail for basically no reason; many of them for things all of us and are kids are probably guilty of but faced few consequences for, assuming the majority of people in this comments thread are white.

  • Ming the Merciless

    The characteristics of the state prison population are totally relevant to the topic at hand.

    Originally you said “Many people are in jail for basically no reason”. That is demonstrably false. Now you want to walk it back to “it can’t be true that nobody is in there for no reason”. That is also not true. It may be that you don’t think the reasons some people are imprisoned are not “good enough” – but lots of people disagree with you.

    “Asymmetric imprisonment” does not “mess up our large communities”. It improves the community when criminals are removed from it.


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