Fatal Opioid Overdoses On The Rise: Learn How to Get Help

Published on
05/24/2022
Opioids

Community members are asked to stay vigilant and learn how to access help as the county and the nation work to curb the increase in fatal drug overdoses. A growing area of concern here in Fairfax County and around the country is fatal and nonfatal overdoses involving youth. 

Signs of opioid overdose can include the following:

  • Face is pale or clammy
  • Breathing is infrequent or has stopped
  • Deep snoring or gurgling (death rattle)
  • Unresponsive to any stimuli
  • Slow or no heart rate and/or pulse
  • Bluish purple, or ashen skin color
  • Fingernails turn blue or blue-black
     

 What Can I Do?

This is a communitywide problem and requires a comprehensive approach to prevent future overdoses and connect individuals experiencing opioid and substance misuse to treatment and support services. Take action today.

  • Talk with your youth and other loved ones who are impacted by substance misuse about the dangers associated with drug use. Get more information on substance use among youth, tips on how to recognize and prevent substance use and available support services from the recent webinar hosted by Fairfax County and Fairfax County Public Schools. Recording and slides (in multiple languages) are available online.
    • An additional live presentation of the webinar will take place on Tuesday, June 7 from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Register.
       
  • Sign up for a Virtual REVIVE! training class on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose and administer naloxone nasal spray to reverse an opioid overdose. After completing the training, individuals 18 and older will receive a REVIVE! kit including Narcan, fentanyl test strips and treatment information.
     
  • Safely store and dispose of unwanted medications to prevent opioid misuse from ever starting. 

 

County Resources

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 911. Fairfax County Fire and Rescue personnel carry medication that can prevent deaths from opioid overdose.
  • Call the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB) Entry & Referral line at 703-383-8500, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., to access behavioral health services, including 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. 
  • CSB Peer Outreach Response Team (PORT) provides outreach, engagement and resource navigation to individuals who have serious opioid and other substance use challenges. If you or someone you know could benefit from PORT services, call  703-559-3199.

Fairfax County continues working to address the opioid epidemic through the County’s Opioid and Substance Use Task Force, which has over 30 opioid-related programs/activities focused on reducing opioid-related overdoses and deaths in the Fairfax community.

Fentanyl and Counterfeit Pills

Fentanyl is extremely fatal, even in the smallest doses. Similar to national and statewide trends, most fatal overdoses in Fairfax County in recent years have involved fentanyl, which is a common substitute or cutting agent in illicit narcotics such as cocaine, heroin, MDMA (also known as ecstasy or molly), as well as counterfeit pills. Nationally, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration reports a dramatic rise in the number of counterfeit pills containing at least two milligrams of fentanyl, which is considered a deadly dose. Counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl can look the same as authentic pills, making it almost impossible to know whether a pill has a deadly dose of fentanyl or not. 

Opioid Tablets

Opioid Pills

6 Fentanyl Facts

  1. Fentanyl is involved in more deaths of Americans under 50 than any other cause of death, including heart disease, cancer, and all other accidents.
  2. Practically all of the pills seized by law enforcement are fake, and 40% contain a potentially lethal amount of fentanyl.
  3. Fentanyl is involved in more American youth drug deaths than heroin, meth, cocaine, benzos and Rx drugs combined.
  4. Fake pills have been found in all 50 states. Assume any prescription med you see online is fake, including Oxy, Percocet, and Xanax.
  5. Fentanyl is cheap, potent and profitable, so dealers use it to make fake pills. It can also be found in party drugs like cocaine and MDMA.
  6. Illegally made fentanyl is the primary driver of the recent increase in all U.S. overdose deaths. Fentanyl-involved deaths are fastest growing among 14-23 year olds.

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