Across Fairfax County and Virginia, law enforcement and health care professionals continue to report a shocking number of deaths due to heroin and opioid overdoses. The statistics are startling:
- There has been a more than tenfold increase in fentanyl overdose deaths in Virginia from 2007 (48 deaths, or 9% of all fatal opioid overdoses) to 2020 (1,655 deaths, or 87% of all fatal opioid overdoses). (Source: Virginia Department of Health Office of the Chief Medical Examiner
- Fatal drug overdose has been the leading method of unnatural death in Virginia since 2013. (Source: Virginia Department of Health Office of the Chief Medical Examiner)
In Fairfax County
- Opioids are the number one cause of unnatural death in Fairfax County. (Source: Fairfax County Health Department)
- There were 94 opioid deaths in the Fairfax Health District in 2020; 87 involved fentanyl. (Source: Fairfax County Health Department)
- The Fairfax County Fire & Rescue EMS providers administered 713 doses of naloxone to 494 patients in 2020. (Source: Fairfax County Fire & Rescue)
- Painkillers are the fifth most commonly used substance, after alcohol and marijuana, among youth in Fairfax County. More than four percent of 8th, 10th and 12 graders - one in every 33 children - reported non-medical use of painkillers, the lowest rate reported by students since 2010. (Source: 2018 Fairfax County Youth Survey)
- Young people (25-34 years old) were seen in emergency departments for heroin and prescription non-fatal overdoses more often than any other age group. (Source: Emergency departments reports via the ESSENCE surveillance system)
- In 2020, in Fairfax County, police reporting indicates fentanyl has been found combined with cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin, ketamine and synthetic cannabinoids. (Source: Fairfax County Police Department)
- There is no "typical" user of opioids. Overdoses and deaths occur in all age groups, among men and women, and in all areas of the county. (Source: Virginia Department of Health Office of the Chief Medical Examiner)
- The proportion of all overdose deaths that include fentanyl and fentanyl analogs was 72% in Virginia, continuing an upward trend since 2013. (Source: Virginia Department of Health Office of the Chief Medical Examiner)
Fairfax County Opioid and Substance Use Task Force
Fairfax County’s Opioid and Substance Use (OSU) Task Force’s work plan for FY 2021 and FY 2022 has two primary goals: to reduce deaths from opioids through prevention, treatment and harm reduction, and use data to describe the problem, target interventions and evaluate effectiveness. About 30 initiatives are currently underway or in development across five priority areas: education, prevention, and collaboration; early intervention and treatment; enforcement and criminal justice; data and monitoring; and harm reduction.
Progress is being made
Significant achievements include:
- The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board expanded medication-assisted treatment and has significantly reduced the wait for residential treatment.
- The Sheriff’s Office’s jail-based MAT program in the Adult Detention Center launched in July 2020 and is seeing early success with former inmates staying engaged and successfully connecting in unprecedented numbers to CSB’s Addiction Medicine Clinic.
- Over 3,700 individuals have received REVIVE training, a free course on how to administer opioid reversal medication.
- The Peer Outreach Response Team (PORT) has partnered with the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue and Police Departments to connect individuals encountered by public safety for non-fatal overdoses to PORT for recovery action planning, discussion of treatment and support group options, REVIVE training, and more. PORT is also available to County residents.
- Drug disposal boxes have been added to 1 all eight Fairfax County Police District stations and also are available at some pharmacies. Find a location using this searchable map.
- The Fairfax Prevention Coalition was established to empower the community to understand, prevent and reduce substance misuse.