Fairfax Co. board tackles lingering opioid crisis

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Washington, October 22, 2017 | comments

Kathy Stewart

The opioid crisis is not going away any time soon; in fact, it’s only getting worse.

Since 2000, the heroin and opioid epidemic has killed more than 200,000 Americans, according to Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.).

“Every day 91 fellow Americans succumb, lose their lives to the opioid problem,” said Connolly, who teamed up with Fairfax County board of supervisors Chairman Sharon Bulova to hold a town hall on the opioid crisis Saturday. The town hall included a panel of experts.

“I hope people walk away with an understanding how grave this situation is,” Bulova said. “This is a crisis but there are things we can do and ways to get our arms around the issue of addiction, especially the issue of addiction to opioids.”

Bulova said the event aims to bring resources to help the local community and bring the issue out in the open.

”Number one: when there’s a problem you don’t sweep it under the rug,” she said.

The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors has allocated funds from the carry-over budget to help address the opioid epidemic, according to Bulova.

The board also created an opioid task force, which she said will develop a countywide plan outlining strategies and resources related to education and awareness, drug disposal and monitoring, treatment, enforcement, criminal justice and data monitoring.

Experts on the panel included Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources William A. Hazel, Jr., Fairfax County Director of Health Dr. Gloria Addo-Ayensu, Community Services Board Assistant Deputy Director Ms. Lyn Tomlinson, Inova CATS Program Medical Director Dr. Husam Alathari and Maj. Amanda Lambert of the Prince William-Manassas Regional Adult Detention Center.

Last year in Virginia more than 1,000 people died from the epidemic.

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