October is Substance Use Prevention Month and our community has many strategies and resources to prevent substance misuse and provide support to those who need assistance. Substance misuse can impact an individual’s physical and mental health, in addition to their social, emotional and spiritual well-being. Some warning signs that indicate that a child or adolescent may be using substances:
- Behavioral and/or mood changes.
- Decline in grades.
- Items or money go missing.
- Memory problems.
- Isolation or abandoning social activities.
- Change in peer group.
- Glazed expression.
- Slurred speech.
- Eyes are red, heavy-lidded and may have constricted pupils.
- Possession of drugs or drug paraphernalia.
Fairfax County Public School Resources
The Substance Abuse Prevention program, a partnership between the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board, Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) and Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court's Diversion Unit, provides substance use prevention, assessments and treatment to adolescents who are at risk of or who are actively using substances.
These specialized staff at all Fairfax County Public Schools ensure youth have access to services to reduce substance use and address underlying issues that may lead to the decision to use. The program is confidential and available to all students.
For information on parent education resources including videos and presentations, visit the FCPS Substance Abuse Prevention resource page. The Healthy Minds Podcast shares podcasts that encourage parents to have meaningful and important conversations with children. Podcast topics include: social emotional learning, activating empathy in children, practicing coping skills, managing feelings around uncertainty and warning signs of addiction. If you have a suggestion for a podcast topic, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Fairfax County Resources
The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB), the public behavioral health agency in our county has numerous services, resources and initiatives to support residents to prevent, reduce and treat substance misuse.
If you or someone you know needs help, please contact the CSB Emergency Services at 703-573-5679.
The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB) partnered with the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services to launch REVIVE!, a program that makes naloxone available to lay rescuers to reverse opioid overdoses. Opioids include illicit medications like hydrocodone and oxycodone, in addition to illicit drugs like heroin.
The CSB offers Virtual Revive Training classes where participants will learn:
- How to recognize the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose.
- How to administer naloxone nasal spray to potentially reverse the effects of an opioid overdose.
- What to do and not do when responding.
After completing the training, individuals 18 and older will receive a REVIVE kit including Narcan and treatment information.
Did you know that a county employee can attend community events to provide information about services or make a presentation to the community?
- Mental Health First Aid — Customized and great for community groups. Complete our custom online form to request a class.
- REVIVE! training — Attendees learn how to prevent opioid overdose. Contact Berkeley Gerstner (703-449-6313) to request a class for your group.
- "Talk. They hear you." — An underage drinking prevention session. Email the CSB WHPP team to request a presentation.
- Parenting for prevention and other topics — email the CSB WHPP team to request a presentation.
Virtual Recovery and Support Groups for Teens and Parents
- Heads Up and Talk it Out are weekly virtual concurrent groups. Heads Up is for teens between the ages of 14-17 who are working through emotional, mental health or substance use challenges. Talk it Out provides support, education and resources to their parents and guardians. These confidential sessions are held via Zoom for Telehealth each Thursday from 6 to 7 p.m. For more information or to get the access code to join the groups, contact Anna Davis (703-383-8404) or David Edelman (703-481-4008).
- Fairfax County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court offers a Virtual Parent Support Group every Tuesday from 7 to 8 p.m. For more information, call central intake at 703-246-2495.
- Pathways to Healing, a support group for family and friends impacted by substance use addresses challenges such as self-care, healthy boundaries, safety and support, coping with lapses and trust and forgiveness. Sessions are scheduled virtually via Zoom every Thursday from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. For more information, call 571-373-1674 or 703-324-7545.
Addiction Medication Clinic for Adults
The Addiction Medication Clinic (AMC) helps adults who are struggling with addiction to substances and would benefit from Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT). AMC provides long-term substance use disorder treatment, from initial detoxification through medication maintenance. Prescribed medications can ease the discomfort of withdrawal, help normalize brain chemistry that has been disrupted due to substance use, relieve physiological cravings, and reduce the feelings of euphoria when using substances.
Prevention Activities — How Can I Help?
- Unsecured, unused and expired medications pose a health risk to your family and community. Proper disposal helps prevent misuse and accidental poisonings and it also protects the environment. Oct. 23 is the next Drug Take Back Day and provides an opportunity to drop unused or expired medications at the locations listed below.
- If you can’t make it to Drug Take Back Day, there are easy and convenient ways to safely dispose of medications all year long.
- The Fairfax Prevention Coalition is a partnership of parents, youth, schools, healthcare providers, government agencies, law enforcement, faith-based organizations, media, nonprofits, businesses and more who work together to combat substance use in the community. The coalition meets virtually once a month. If you are interested in attending, contact Lori Naveda, coalition coordinator, at Lori.Naveda@fairfaxcounty.gov.