Fairfax County overdose deaths caused by lethal strain of heroin, detectives believe

- A lethal strain of heroin is believed to be behind several overdoses and overdose deaths in Fairfax County this week, according to authorities.

The Fairfax County Police Department said it has investigated six overdose deaths this week, five of which were believed to be caused by opioids.

The overdose deaths were reported in:

  • Alexandria on Dec. 1
  • Fairfax Station on Sunday
  • McLean on Wednesday
  • Clifton on Wednesday
  • Fairfax on Thursday

Authorities said the victims ranged in age from 22 and 34. Detectives believe batches of heroin in the area may be laced with fentanyl and carfentanil, which are synthetic opioids that can be lethal even in the smallest doses.

“You have all these chemists all around the world that are playing with chemicals, playing with molecules, trying to beat the justice system so they can bring a drug into the United States that is not illegal but still has the powerful kick of heroin or morphine,” 2nd Lt. James Cox with the Fairfax County Police Department explained. “It’s the people using the drugs who are the human guinea pigs.”

Investigators said they were still waiting for official lab results from the five overdose victims to determine if the deaths are linked to the batch of heroin.

Officials said so far in 2017 there have been 102 fatal overdoses in Fairfax County. Of those 102 fatal overdoses, police said 70 percent were confirmed to be opioid-related. Authorities were still awaiting results for overdose deaths over the past 90 days.

Detectives said they’ve seen ages ranging from the early-20s to mid-60s, but the majority of overdose deaths have been between the ages of 25 and 35.

If you are experiencing an overdose or believe someone around you is overdosing, you’re urged to call 911 immediately.

If you or someone you know needs help to overcome drug dependence, you’re urged to call the Community Services Board at Merrifield Center at (703) 573-5679.

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