Expanding Treatment Options for Youth Using Opioids

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Like communities across the nation, the opioid epidemic has impacted all ages and socioeconomic groups in Fairfax County. To address this, we use a cross-systems, multi-pronged opioid response strategy. A particular focus in recent years has been opioid overdoses involving youth, which have risen sharply in line with national trends.


What’s Happening With Youth in Fairfax County?

From 2021 -2023, there has been a significant rise in nonfatal overdoses involving those under the age of 18 in the Fairfax Health District.

This concerning trend is compounded by the lack of adequate substance use treatment. As the county’s agency responsible for providing prevention, treatment and recovery services, the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB) is taking an active approach to expand the local continuum of behavioral health treatment services for youth. LaVurne Williams, division director for Youth & Family Outpatient and Intensive Services, is working with her team to establish new outpatient treatment sites and expand the workforce to offer accessible care to youth and their families.

“Right now, we’re hyper-focused on building up the supportive services that target youth impacted by opioid use. We have never seen such a drastic need for youth services as we are currently experiencing,” observed Williams. “As new projects are launched, the CSB, in collaborative partnership with other groups, will be providing barrier-free medication assisted treatment options; assessments; individual, family and group therapy; peer support; and case management to serve this critical population.”

The CSB is utilizing a mix of local funds and opioid settlement payments to fund some of these initiatives.


Youth-Focused Initiatives

Building on the CSB’s existing outpatient substance use treatment services for youth, some key initiatives underway to expand the CSB’s services for young people using opioids include:

  • Youth Medication Assisted Treatment Expansion – Youth Medication Assisted Treatment is the use of FDA-approved medications in combination with counseling and behavioral therapies to treat substance use disorders and prevent opioid overdose. The CSB is hiring eight staff to expand capacity for this program at the Sharon Bulova Center in Merrifield and Gerry Hyland Government Center in South County to serve 150 youth annually.
  • George Mason University and Partners (GMU MAP) Clinic Bridge Partnership – CSB has partnered with GMU MAP to ensure youth are able to quickly access medication and support for opioid use disorder. Rapid connection to medication assisted treatment is especially critical in the days immediately following a non-fatal overdose. The GMU MAP Bridge Program typically provides short-term services to stabilize an individual before the person is then transferred back to the CSB or another local provider for longer term treatment.
  • Community Based Teams – CSB behavioral health teams are being added to three community centers so youth can more easily attend behavioral health appointments, including those for substance use treatment services in the communities which they live. These services will be located at Hybla Valley Community Center, James Lee Community Center and Herndon Resource Center and are on track to launch in Summer 2024.
  • Youth Detoxification and Residential Crisis Stabilization Services  Fairfax-Falls Church CSB has partnered with the four other CSBs in Northern Virginia on a project that aims to bring youth detoxification (i.e. withdrawal management) and residential crisis stabilization services to the Northern Virginia region because currently there are no local options for youth detox or residential substance use treatment. The CSBs are seeking a vendor to provide these critical services; the request for proposals was issued on April 5, 2024, and closes on June 28, 2024.


If You Need Help

If you or someone you know is experiencing substance use issues, there are numerous county resources available:

  • If the situation is immediately life-threatening, call or text 911. Fairfax County Fire and Rescue personnel carry medication that can prevent deaths from opioid overdose.
  • Call the CSB Entry & Referral line at 703-383-8500 to access substance use treatment services for youth and adults.
  • If it's after business hours, call CSB Emergency Services at 703-573-5679 or the Fairfax Detoxification Center at 703-502-7000; both are available 24/7.


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