CENTREVILLE, Va. - An accidental drug overdose, that is what the Virginia Medical Examiner's office revealed Monday as the cause of death for a Centreville High School student.
Back in March, 17-year-old Alexia Springer was found unconscious and not breathing at her home by a friend who had spent the night, police said. When police and paramedics arrived, they found no signs of life.
According to the autopsy report, Springer had morphine, Alprazolam, oxycodone and alcohol in her system.
Springer was a junior at Centreville High School and according to those who knew Springer, she was known for her generosity and outgoing personality.
“Alexia was one of the most selfless people you will ever meet," said senior student John Massa. "She was kindhearted, she was sweet, she was actively involved, she was a Homecoming princess, she played sports, she had more friends than anyone in the school. Even if you didn't know her personally, you knew OF HER".
Back in March, Fairfax County police believed that Springer died from complications caused by heroin use, then the next day they backed off saying they were “not sure what drugs Alexia Springer may have taken.” Springer’s sister said Alexia died of an accidental drug overdose and was not using heroin. On Monday an autopsy report confirmed her cause of death.
Although her death has been ruled an accident, it has shined light on a problem that has alarmed elected officials and others in Centreville. In recent weeks, three students, two juvenile females and an 18-year-old male all overdosed while at a house party in Burke. All three go to different high schools in the county and all three survived, but it is a problem that one county supervisor is trying to get a handle on.
In an effort to do that, supervisor Pat Herrity is holding a town hall at the Government Center on Tuesday night to address the alarming trend. “We have a prescription drug and heroin problem in our community and in the nation and its a public health crisis and we need to address it and its sad when we have a life that's lost like that,” Herrity expressed.
Herrity says he wants to hear from the community in the town hall, "I think we have done some good things in Fairfax County, you can walk in and get treatment, we've got the narcan program, we've got the police out on the street keeping drugs off the street but I want to hear from the community on what they think we should be doing and in this town hall it will be an exchange of ideas which is what a town hall should be about.”
During budget cuts, drug counselor positions were eliminated from the high schools and Herrity will be pushing to bring them back.
According to government sources, more people now die from drug overdoses each year than in car crashes; in Northern Virginia, heroin-related deaths increased 164 percent between 2011 and 2013.
In Fairfax County, the number of deaths from heroin overdoses doubled between 2013 and 2014.