Reston, VA

Sandstone Care opened up a new Reston branch to the public on July 20. The drug and alcohol rehabilitation center has locations in the DMV area, as well as in Colorado. 

Since the onset of COVID-19, there has been a notable increase in overdoses and suicide deaths, according to Marcello LaRocca, the founder of Sandstone Care. With the enforcement of staying at home and social distancing, it’s not surprising that people are feeling disconnected. 

“The pandemic is bringing about isolation in pretty significant ways,” said LaRocca. “It’s definitely fueling a mental health surge, unfortunately.”

The community-based outpatient program specializes in serving teens and young adults. A big issue the age group is currently facing is uncertainty regarding the fall, specifically whether or not they will be going back to school.  

 Sandstone Care is aiming to support people through virtual services and assessments, while also keeping an in-person option for people when possible. 

“A lot of families, four months into the pandemic, have screen fatigue. Not having that connection can be a real challenge,” said LaRocca. 

The facility is taking many measures to ensure safety during the COVID-19 pandemic. In their day treatment programs, they are enforcing social distancing and mask-wearing and giving temperature screenings. There will be increased sanitation, and only essential personnel are allowed in the office. 

The reception from the public has been very positive. Virginia is a pretty underserved area, especially with resources for teens, according to LaRocca, so there has been a lot of support around their establishment.  

“I think there’s a lot of excitement and support from the other community mental health centers and hospitals,” said LaRocca. “It’s hard to be a human being right now.” 

The National Suicide Prevention Hotline can be reached at 1-800-273-8255. 

Photo via the Sandstone Care/Facebook

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Monday Morning Notes

Traffic Changes on Dulles Toll Road and Sunset Hill Road This Week — Lane closures are scheduled beginning today (Monday) through Friday, Nov. 22, along the eastbound and northbound Dulles Toll Road and eastbound Sunset Hills Road near the future Reston Town Center Metro Station. [Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project]

Owner of Public Interest Registry to Sell Organization — The owner of Reston-based Public Internet Registry, which oversees customers in the .org domain, is set to sell the organization to a private equity company. [Washington Business Journal]

Free Locking Devices Available for Medications, Firearms — The county is offering free cable and trigger locks ad locking medication boxes. Individuals interested in the items can email [email protected] for more information. [Fairfax County Government]

Photo via vantagehill/Flickr

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The deaths of a mother and her two children, who were found in a Herndon home Wednesday evening, are being investigated as a double murder and suicide, according to the Fairfax County Police Department.

Noera Ayaz, 42, and her sons were found in the home on the 1000 block of Safa Street around 6:20 p.m. yesterday, according to reports received by Reston Now. The Washington Post also reported the identity of the woman, although the police department has not released the identities or relationships between any of the deceased.

Police believe Ayaz killed her two children and then killed herself. The findings are preliminary and an investigation is ongoing.

The incident was being investigated as a “domestic-related incident” and no threat to public safety was noted. The homeowner, the father of the two children, discovered the bodies when he arrived home Wednesday evening around 6:20 p.m. Police searched the home and found Ayaz upstairs with what police said appeared to a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The family, who is Muslim, was active in the local Muslim community and the incident has shaken many local community members.

Ayaz was an accomplished attorney who fought for the rights of immigrants and women. During her early legal career, she worked at the law firm of Baker Botts, LLP, where she worked on intellectual property cases and represented Mulsim women with immigration issues.

She traveled across the world and earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Brown University. She received her law degree from Columbia Law School. In the local community, Ayaz was known for her work as the director of Women in Islam, Inc., an organization that aimed to address issues linked to the Muslim community and build understanding across cultural boundaries.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will conduct an autopsy to determine the exact cause of death, police said. Crime scene detectives searched the home to gather information about the incident after executing a search warrant, police said. Detectives continue their investigation to determine what led to the shooting.

No other information was immediately available.

Photos via FCPD

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