Fentanyl town hall meeting in Fairfax County

March 28, 2023


By Jess Arnold

BURKE, Va. — As fentanyl continues to claim young lives, a Fairfax County supervisor is hosting a town hall on its impact on the community.

Springfield District Supervisor Pat Herrity is leading the town hall with School Board member Laura Jane Cohen, with the goal of making parents, students and community members aware of just how dangerous fentanyl can be.

Herrity said they will have a panel of experts, including someone living with an addiction.

Last week, the Supervisors chair sent out an update on the impact of opioids in Fairfax County.

He shared that last year, the county saw more than 300 non-fatal overdoses and 45 fatal overdoses, many connected to fentanyl.

The county reports that fentanyl is now the leading cause of death for U.S. adults under 50.

“It’s being put in everything, and it only takes a small amount to kill you. So, you can be taking something you think is OK for you, and it’s laced with fentanyl,” Herrity said. “And you end up overdosing, which is why having the naloxone around is so helpful. Even if you don’t think that your kids are into drugs, you never know.”

Supervisor Herrity says to combat that kind of trend, everyone will need to work together.

“It can’t be a siloed approach. This isn’t a police issue. It’s not a school’s issue. It’s not a you know, a teacher or a parents issue or mental health issue,” he said. “You need to address all the silos and it needs to be a coordinated response. We had that with opioids, and I’m hoping we can develop that for fentanyl. I know our each of those departments are doing what they can, but it’s bigger than any one agency or one at any one group.”

Tuesday night’s town hall will also feature a naloxone training. That’s the overdose-reversing drug.

Everyone who attends will receive some to take home with them.

Fairfax County also regularly offers virtual trainings on naloxone.

Fairfax County Public Schools said last month that now – every one of their schools stocks it.