A rising number of teen overdoses in Fairfax County is prompting new measures by local and federal officials to stem the alarming trend as a new school year approaches.
After seeing overdose numbers decline prior to the pandemic, numbers have increased recent consecutive years. In response, Fairfax County Public Schools will be making the overdose emergency drug Narcan more readily available at each school. Prior to the change, only school resource officers were authorized to carry the drug.
“Unfortunately, in this day and age, it’s a problem … that all parents and … schools need to talk to students, teenagers, and young adults about,” Sue Zoldak, a parent of an FCPS student, told FOX 5. “It’s hard to say that there’s anyone out there that doesn’t know a family [member] that has been impacted by this epidemic in some way.”
In addition to making the overdose reversal drug more accessible, Drug Enforcement Agency officials recently distributed letters to FCPS officials requesting an uptick in educational programs about the risks of drug use. Parents have also been encouraged by officials to discuss the matter with their children while maintaining vigilance when it comes to the presence of select pills, many of which can be counterfeit, and therefore, even more deadly than a standard prescription.
“When someone overdoses, especially if it’s a fatal overdose, it’s a huge tragedy in the family,” Daryl Washington, executive director of the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board, told FOX 5. “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.”
A total of 14 Fairfax County-based individuals between the ages of 12 and 17 have required emergency services this year as a result of overdosing. That number is already higher than the total in 2021.
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