Fentanyl is killing our children.
Fentanyl is 50 to 100 times stronger than heroin or morphine. It is a contributing factor to more deaths among Americans under 50 than any other cause — including guns, disease, or accidents.
Governments shuttered schools and closed our economy for fear of Covid. Where’s the local all-hands-on-deck response to Fentanyl?
During 2022 in Fairfax County, more than 80 victims suffered fatal drug overdoses – most of them young people. There were 300 nonfatal opioid overdoses, an increase of 50% from 2019. More than 90% of all opioid overdose deaths involved fentanyl.
Victims don’t even have to use fentanyl to suffer. Increasingly, criminal networks are producing pills that resemble prescription medicine, but they’re lacing the pills with Fentanyl or other opioids. Any contact with Fentanyl residue on surfaces, or inhaling fumes, can be enough to poison a child, teacher, or police officer.
We need to get drug users the treatment they need, we need to put those who push drugs to our children in prison, and we need to provide healthful alternatives to children who are vulnerable to gangs — stronger families, more mentorship opportunities, and an education system that actually offers hope for a better future.
We also need to reform correctional institutions so that rather than grooming ever more violent criminals, they become a place where prisoners who are not yet hardened criminals can learn to be integrated into society and lead productive and meaningful lives.
Governor Youngkin has recently signed an executive order to address the fentanyl epidemic. These efforts will help, but they cannot be effective without the support of local government and our commonwealth attorney.
Allowing individuals who engage in criminal activity, particularly the trafficking of opioid drugs, to evade the consequences of their crimes puts our children at risk and misses an opportunity to reform and rehabilitate criminals who see no other options.
No parent should have to learn their child has been the victim of drug poisoning. Or that the young son or daughter who has fallen into selling drugs is discarded as hopeless and unworthy of our best efforts at redemption.
As your supervisor in the Dranesville district, I’ll work to rid our streets and our schools of deadly drugs. And I’ll make the fight against Fentanyl one of our county’s top priorities.
I hope you’ll join me.