Officials working with schools to prevent teenage overdoses in Virginia
FAIRFAX COUNTY, Va. - Amid a sharp rise in teenage overdoses in Virginia, federal and local agencies are combining resources to prevent another tragedy ahead of the school year.
On Wednesday, FOX 5 spoke with the executive director of the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board, which provides services for people suffering from substance abuse, says this increase worrisome.
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"When someone overdoses especially if it’s a fatal overdose, it’s a huge tragedy in the family. That changes the course and what’s going on with that family essentially for a life time. If you have a youth or even an adult that overdoses – that family system is never the same again. They may recover and may heal, but what happened in the family will always sit with them," Daryl Washington tells FOX 5.
According to the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board, before the coronavirus hit, overdoses were decreasing in Fairfax County for two years straight. However, since the pandemic, the county has reported two straight years of increasing overdoses across all age groups.
To help with the problem, Fairfax County is partnering with Fairfax Schools to make Narcan available on school campuses. Right now, only school resource officers carry the medication which can help reverse and overdose.
The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is also making an effort to address the problem by sending out a letter to principals and superintendents asking them to educate students about the dangers of drugs. Authorities are also asking parents to be talk to their children.
"Unfortunately, in this day and age, it’s a problem something that all parents and caregivers, schools does need to talk to students, teenagers and young adults about," Sue Zoldak, a Fairfax County parent, tells FOX 5. "Because it’s hard to say that there’s anyone out there that doesn’t know a family that has been impacted by this epidemic in some way and that’s really sad to say."
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Authorities also ask parents to be on the lookout for light blue or green pills because those could be counterfeit Oxycotin pills that can cause deadly overdoses.
So far in 2022, 14 people ages 12 to 17 have been rushed to the emergency room as a result of an overdose in Fairfax County. That number has already surpassed previous years.