Opioid Townhall Presentation: April 2023

Presentation on youth opioid use and Fairfax County's response plan.

PDF Version of the Presentation

Below is a text-only version of the presentation.

It's Time to Get Real.

Video: Fentanyl Overdose Survivor Shares Her Story

One Pill Can Kill. Troubling Trends in Youth Opioid Use


Stefan Mascoll, Coordinator, Student Safety & Wellness, Fairfax County Public Schools ​

  • Defining the issue at the national, state, and local level
  • FCPS schools and opioids
  • FCPS responses (prevention, education, and intervention)
  • Data collection
  • Naloxone (Narcan) training

Fairfax County's Opioid Response Plan

Ellen Volo, Fairfax County, Opioid and Substance Use Task Force Coordinator

  • Created in 2017
  • About 40 programs and activities from the FY23 - FY25 plan are underway or in development
  • Primary goals:
    • Reducing deaths from opioids
    • Improving the quality of life of individuals impacted by opioid use disorder
    • Using data to describe the problem, target and improve interventions, and evaluate effectiveness
  • Countywide effort involving many stakeholders

National Opioid Epidemic

Jennifer Feltes, Fairfax County Health Department

  • Increase in opioid overdose deaths nationally in past two decades
  • Three opioid epidemic waves in US: prescription opioids, heroin, and fentanyl1
  • Recent rapid increase in adolescent opioid overdose deaths involving fentanyl (2019 to present)
1.U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2023, April 18). Understanding the Opioid Overdose Epidemic.


Local Effects of a National Epidemic

  • 304 total emergency department (ED) visits for non-fatal opioid overdoses in 2022 – increase of ~50% from 2019 to 2022
  • Increase in opioid overdose deaths from 2019 through 2021
  • Since 2020, more than 90% of all opioid overdose deaths have involved fentanyl

Local Effects Among Youth of a National Epidemic

  • Increase in ED visits for non-fatal opioid overdose among youth ages 17 and under from 2019 through 2022
  • From 2020 through September 2022, there have been 7 fatal opioid overdoses in youth, all involving fentanyl

View the Fairfax Opioid Dashboard for more details.

Opioid Trends/Awareness

Detective Kevin Reynolds - Overdose Investigations Unit, Fairfax County Police Department 

  • Fentanyl is a highly addictive synthetic opioid that is 50X more potent than heroin and 100X more potent than morphine
  • Significant increase in the presence of fentanyl in counterfeit prescription pills (Percocet/Xanax)
  • DEA lab testing in 2022 reveals 6 out of every 10 pills with fentanyl contain a lethal dose (dea.gov/onepill)
  • Fentanyl also is used as a substitute or cutting agent in other drugs like cocaine and heroin
  • Just two milligrams of fentanyl, the small amount that fits on the tip of a pencil, is considered a potentially deadly dose (DEA.gov) 

How Does it Look

  • In Fairfax County we are mainly seeing the counterfeit oxycodone pills commonly referred to as "Blues, M-Box, 30's, Percs."
  • Drug dealers can purchase these pills in bulk on the darkweb for under $1 per pill and they are being redistributed within the community for under $10 per pill. Currently, juveniles are purchasing these pills for $8-$10.
  • Dealers can, and have pressed these pills themselves and sold them in the community.

Paraphernalia to Look For

  • Homemade smoking devices
  • Rolled up bills and burnt foil

What Can Parents Do?

    • ERKS
    • BLUES
    • 30’S
    • M BOX
    • BARS

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Opioids in Schools

Tiffany Jones, Senior Substance Abuse Prevention Specialist, Fairfax County Public Schools

  • What are the top 3 most widely used substances by youth in Fairfax County?
    • 10% report using marijuana
    • 9% report vaping marijuana
    • 3% report using painkillers and other prescription drugs for non-medical reasons

View Fairfax County Youth Survey Results

Access to Medications

  • Medicine cabinets
  • Injury
  • Social media
  • Friends

Opioids in Schools: Risk Factors

  • Mental health
  • Adverse childhood experiences
  • Lack of parental supervision
  • The brain & pain

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FCPS Response: Intervention, Prevention and Education

Stefan Mascoll, Coordinator, Student Safety & Wellness, Fairfax County Public Schools 

  • Health & PE alcohol and other drug education
  • Substance Abuse Prevention Specialists (SAPS)
  • Narcan stocked in all schools
  • School staff trained in Narcan administration
  • Community education

Data Challenges & Naloxone

  • The opioid epidemic is a new phenomenon that's impacting all school divisions local and nationally
  • Student safety addressed first
    • Narcan in all schools
    • Overdose Response Protocols
    • Community Education
  •  FCPS now has a tool for administrators to report suspected overdoses on school grounds
  • Definition of overdose
    • HIPAA – The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. A federal law thatprotects sensitive patient health information from being disclosed with the patient's consent or knowledge

2022-2023 School Year: FCPS Suspected Overdose Data

  • Of the 232 schools and programs in FCPS, 23 report responding to a suspected overdose incident in their building
  • Of those 23 suspected overdose incidents reported:
    • Half involved substances suspected of being an opioid
    • 10 involved actual opioids
    • 22 resulted in emergency services contact
    • 15 resulted in students being transported by emergency services

Opioid Video

Raymond Paden, Wellness Health Promotion & Prevention Supervisor, Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board

Video: How Naloxone Saves Lives in Opioid Overdose

Narcan Nasal Spray

Two Doses in Each Box

How to use Narcan Nasal Spray

Key Steps to Administering Narcan Nasal Spray

Safety and Storage of Naloxone

  • Serious side effects from naloxone use are very rare.
    Using naloxone during an overdose far outweighs any risk of side effects. If the cause of the unconsciousness is uncertain, giving naloxone is not likely to cause further harm to the person. Reported side effects are often related to acute opioid withdrawal.
  • Naloxone will not reverse overdoses from other drugs, such as alcohol, benzodiazepines, cocaine, or amphetamines.
  • Naloxone has no abuse potential.
  • Naloxone has the same dose for an adult and a child.
  • Naloxone has a shelf life of approximately 3 years (check the label on your product.) Store between 59°F to 77°F.
  • Do not store naloxone in extreme temperatures (the car on hot summer days or during the winter). Naloxone may be stored for short periods up to 104°F.
  • Only discard the naloxone once you have a replacement for it. If you don’t replace naloxone before it is needed, it is better to use it, even if it hasn’t been stored properly.

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Guiding Questions

  • Question 1: What additional information do you need from FCPS regarding opioids and other substance abuse as we continue to partner in addressing this issue?
  • Question 2: What other recommended strategies would you like to share?

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Opioid Awareness

FCPS is committed to raising awareness about the opioid epidemic with our educators, parents, and students. Together, we can help protect the lives of county residents, especially our students.