City of Alexandria Alerts Public to Local Rise in Drug Overdoses, Availability of Treatment and Recovery Programs

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City of Alexandria Alerts Public to Local Rise in Drug Overdoses, Availability of Treatment and Recovery Programs

For Immediate Release: August 14, 2020

The City of Alexandria has responded to nine substance-related, nonfatal drug overdoses since July 24, including seven opioid overdoses. While each incident was unrelated, and no definite trend has emerged, City officials are concerned that individual and collective stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic may be linked to increased substance use. City officials urge residents to be aware of the medical risks associated with the use of opioids and illegal substances that could be extremely concentrated, or mixed with something unusual that could result in life-threatening situations.

On August 11, the Arlington County Police Department reported investigating five deaths as possible drug-related overdoses in August. Based on preliminary investigations, police suspect the deaths are linked to heroin and prescription painkillers mixed with fentanyl (a synthetic opioid), and urged those who may be affected by addiction or opioid use to take steps to protect themselves and others.

The drug Naloxone, also known as Narcan, can save the life of someone who is experiencing an opioid overdose, if given in time. It is available without a prescription at all pharmacies, and can be obtained for free at the Alexandria Health Department main office (4480 King St.). People wishing to obtain the drug from the Health Department must first call 703.746.4888 to make an appointment so staff can take appropriate safety precautions. If there is no answer, leave a message and you will receive a return call. Free Narcan may also be obtained by appointment through the City’s Opioid Response Coordinator. Call 703.746.3326 and leave a message with your contact information.

If you or someone you care about needs help with addiction, call 703.746.3636 (Virginia Relay 711), 24 hours a day. For help to stop using heroin or other opioids, call the Opioid Treatment Program intake line at 703.746.3610. Individuals who do not live in Alexandria can find treatment options at www.samhsa.gov or by calling 800.662.HELP (4357). For life-threatening situations, call or text 911 immediately. 

For inquiries from the news media only, contact Andrea Blackford, Senior Communications Officer, at andrea.blackford@alexandriava.gov or 703.746.3959.


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This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/117221.

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