Help Is Available to Prevent Opioid Overdoses

In Fairfax County, more people die from overdoses than car accidents.

According to the latest statistics from the Virginia Department of Health, there were 324 fatal overdoses caused by opioids in January-March of 2019 in the commonwealth. Unfortunately, those are the highest first-quarter numbers ever recorded. Twenty-two occurred in Fairfax County.

Opioids - 2019 Virginia Chart

We have a plan to combat the opioid epidemic here in Fairfax County, but we need your help as well. Below is what you need to know if you or somebody close to you might be impacted by this crisis.


Getting Help
  • If the situation is immediately life-threatening, call 9-1-1. Our Fire and Rescue personnel carry medication that can prevent death from an opioid overdose.
  • Call our Fairfax Detoxification Center at 703-502-7000; available 24/7, including weekends and holidays.
    • The center includes a mobile team called Detox Diversion that is available between 3 p.m. and 1 a.m. daily. They respond to police and community requests to intervene at the scene of a potential arrest to instead refer the individual to detoxification services.
  • Call the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board during business hours at 703-383-8500. Our staff can help you find appropriate treatment and recovery resources.
  • Youth and adults can also come in person, without a prior appointment, to Entry & Referral Services at the CSB’s Merrifield Center, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to be screened for services. Youth walk-in evaluations are offered during these times and also until 7 p.m. on Tuesdays. [Learn what happens during an assessment]
Dos and Don’ts if Somebody Overdoses



Earlier this year, we launched a new opioids awareness campaign called “Could Be You.” Although there are some trends among who is affected, opioid overdoses impact all segments of the population.

We encourage you to share these with members of your community:

The campaign will be expanding soon to include Twitter, YouTube and Snapchat.

What Are Opioids?

Opioids act on the brain and produce a euphoric effect.

  • Often prescribed to relieve pain. Morphine, oxycodone, hydrocodone, tramadol, methadone and fentanyl are all opioids.
  • The illegal drug heroin is also an opioid.
  • Highly addictive, even lethal, if used improperly.
  • Heroin laced with carfentanil (an opioid tranquilizer used on large animals) and fentanyl has appeared in illegal drug markets and is extremely dangerous for humans.


  • Used for pain management for Stage 4 cancer patients.
  • Ten times more potent than heroin.
  • Lethal dose of pure fentanyl is about the size of a few grains of salt.
  • From 2014 to 2015, fentanyl incidents more than doubled in the U.S. (from 5,343 to 13,882).


  • Now present in illegal U.S. drug markets.
  • 10,000 times more potent than morphine; 100 times more potent than fentanyl.
  • Depresses the central nervous system and ability to breathe.
  • Tiny particles (through nose, mouth, injection) can create life-threatening effects within minutes of exposure.


Signs of Opioid Use

There are a number of clues you can look for if you suspect someone close to you may be using opioids. These include:

Behavioral signs

  • Isolation and secretive behavior.
  • Loss of interest in favorite activities.
  • Moodiness, irritability, nervousness, giddiness.
  • Emotionally erratic: quickly changes between feeling bad and good.

Physical signs of heroin use

  • Pupils of eyes are small, pinpoints.
  • Decreased respiration rate.
  • Intense flu-like symptoms: nausea, vomiting, sweating, shaking of hands, feet or head.

Warning signs of drug use

  • Missing medications.
  • Burnt or missing spoons or bottle caps.
  • Small bags with powder residue.
  • Missing shoelaces or belts.
See More Signs of Opioid Use Print Flyer with Warning Signs



What You Can Do

We need your help to fight this crisis as a community. Here are a few ways you can make a difference:

  • Sign up for a REVIVE! training. The classes train individuals on what to do and not do in an overdose situation, how to administer naloxone and what to do afterward. Each attendee also receives a free REVIVE! kit, which includes all the supplies needed to administer naloxone. The medication itself can be acquired at a pharmacy after completing the training. Attendees also receive a safety plan to help individuals prevent overdose if they relapse.
  • Learn how to properly dispose of medications. Reduce the chance that others may accidentally take or intentionally misuse the unneeded medicine by removing expired, unwanted or unused medicines from your home as quickly as possible.
  • Complete an Overdose Safety Plan for either yourself or a friend in need.
  • Take advantage of free, convenient, confidential and safe disposal of unused or expired medications during Operation Medicine Cabinet Cleanout on Saturday, Oct. 26. Drop off medications at any of the eight Fairfax County District Police Stations (pills or liquids only, no pressurized canisters or needles) between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.
  • Get a free medication lock box from our Community Services Board.


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