Fairfax, Prince William Counties have highest number of fatal fentanyl-related overdoses: report

New details are emerging about the fentanyl factor and the role it's playing in the rise of drug overdoses across northern Virginia.

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Two counties in the D.C. area are topping the list for deadly drug overdoses due to fentanyl.

Three out of every four overdose deaths reportedly involve fentanyl. This new information coming from the Virginia Department of Health.

The Office of Virginia’s Chief Medical Examiner shared its drug death report with FOX 5. The report shows localities statewide with the highest fatal fentanyl-related drug overdoses are in Richmond City, Fairfax County, Virginia Beach and Prince William County.

READ MORE: Fentanyl-laced cocaine likely caused 6 Falls Church overdoses at apartment, Fairfax County police say

FOX 5 has learned the number of fatal fentanyl overdoses in 2020 compared to 2019 increased by 72%.

In 2020, fentanyl was reportedly involved in more than 71% of all drug overdose deaths. Drug overdoses not including fentanyl are also up – Richmond City, Virginia Beach and Fairfax County topping that list. 

So far, the Virginia Department of Health’s researchers are reviewing data from the first quarter of 2020. They expect to release the next quarter within the next week.

READ MORE: Deputy suffers fentanyl overdose after exposure to substance on patrol

"Fentanyl is really the big piece of the puzzle," said statewide forensic epidemiologist Katherin "Rosie" Hobron who works for the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

The state health department also supporting fentanyl strips, according to Hobron who says it’s a "big first step." That’s despite the controversy surrounding the idea.

In Prince William County, overdose deaths nearly doubled from 2019 to 2020. The number of overdoses is on pace to surpass last year as well.


A recent survey by INOVA Health Systems indicates 40% of clinicians surveyed believe access to resources and help is the biggest challenge and obstacle for patients.