Heroin, Prescription Abuse Focus of Fairfax County Town Hall

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.

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