Opioid Awareness

Information about the dangers of opioid misuse, particularly fentanyl

Opioids in Fairfax County

As educators, there is nothing more important to us than the safety and wellbeing of our students, families, and communities. That is why Fairfax County Public Schools is joining with Fairfax County to bring attention to the dangers and risks of opioid misuse and abuse.

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. 

According to a study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association

  • Among adolescents, fentanyl-involved fatalities increased from 253 in 2019 to 680 in 2020 and to 884 in 2021.
  • In 2021, fentanyls were identified in 77.14% of adolescent overdose deaths.

In Fairfax County, there were four fatal overdoses within the 0-17 year old age group in 2022. 

What Are Opioids?

Opioids are a class of drugs used to treat pain, and can include both prescription medications as well as illegal drugs. Tragically, their misuse can lead to devastating outcomes. Opioids - such as fentanyl, heroin, hydrocodone, methadone, morphine, oxycodone and tramadol - act on the brain, producing a euphoric effect. Although substance use has declined among Fairfax County youth over the past several years, fatal opioid overdoses continue to rise. 

Fentanyl is an especially powerful opioid that is extremely lethal, even in small doses. Most fatal overdoses in Fairfax County in recent years have involved fentanyl, which is a common substitute or cutting agent in illicit narcotics such as cocaine, heroin, MDMA (also known as ecstasy or molly), as well as counterfeit pills. Nationally, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) reports a dramatic rise in the number of counterfeit pills containing at least two milligrams of fentanyl, which is considered a deadly dose. Counterfeit pills laced with fentanyl can look the same as authentic pills, making it almost impossible to know whether a pill has a deadly dose of fentanyl or not. 

Additional Resources

FCPS' Alcohol, Tobacco, and Other Drug Programs webpage

Webinar - Fairfax County Public Schools has partnered with Fairfax County Government to provide an educational webinar on youth substance use trends and supports.  


Community Resources

FCPS Resources

Narcan Training & Materials
from Fairfax County Government

Previous Community Meetings on Opioids

At previous mid-March and late-April 2023 community meetings on opioid awareness, nearly 500 families, staff, and community members came together for a conversation on the dangers of fentanyl.

During these impactful events, audience members heard testimonials from individuals affected by the opioid epidemic and learned facts from medical experts and law enforcement representatives. Participants learned how, as a community, we can partner to reduce the impact of these harmful—and often deadly—drugs.

At the April meeting, attendees received free REVIVE! Narcan training during the event.   

View the April Opioid Townhall Presentation Slides