Drug Abuse In Fairfax County



In the United States we are currently facing the largest prescription drug epidemic of our country’s history. Statistics have now shown that drug overdoses in this country are more frequent than car crashes. This epidemic has unfortunately reached Fairfax County where the number of drug overdoses is increasing rapidly. Fairfax County is combatting this problem by offering drug abuse town hall meetings and offering information to residents about counseling and rehabilitation centers as the number of people dependent on the drug continues to rise.

The major cause of the drug epidemic is the prescription drug, opioids, which are painkillers prescribed by doctors. The most commonly prescribed opioids include codeine, fentanyl, and hydrocodone. These drugs that are intended to reduce pain, but they become addictive for some users.This is because opioids produce a sense of pleasure as they stimulate regions in the brain involved with reward. The problem is that some patients become dependent on the drug, and when they are no longer prescribed the drug by their doctor they suffer withdrawal. This has led to the increase in heroin use in the country and Fairfax County. Heroin has many of the same effects of opioids on the brain by satisfying the parts of the brain that are associated with reward. The problem with them is that they relax and reduce feeling and pain within the body. This can cause the body’s respiratory drive to shut down, which slows and eventually stops breathing, which has caused many deaths from the drug.

Some jaw dropping statistics have come out regarding Fairfax County’s Drug epidemic. In Northern Virginia, heroin related deaths have increased 164 percent between 2011 and 2014. In Fairfax County there has also been a 22 percent increase in needs for rehabilitation services for heroin use. The death toll from heroin has doubled since 2011 in the county, and Fairfax County Fire and Rescue have had to respond to as many as four heroin overdoses in one day.

The drug epidemic continues to rise in the country and our county, and many are wondering who to point the finger at for it. Shall we blame the users for abusing the drugs and becoming addicted or the doctors for prescribing the opioids in the first place? Many questions have yet to be answered about this growing problem in our nation and county.