Since July 24, the city has responded to nine substance-related, non-fatal drug overdoses. While the incidents were unrelated, the City of Alexandria said in a press release its part of an alarming trend emerging.
“While each incident was unrelated, and no definite trend has emerged, City officials are concerned that individual and collective stress related to the COVID-19 pandemic may be linked to increased substance use,” the city said in a press release. “City officials urge residents to be aware of the medical risks associated with the use of opioids and illegal substances that could be extremely concentrated, or mixed with something unusual that could result in life-threatening situations.”
There are nationwide concerns that the pandemic could be adversely affecting efforts to curb the opioid epidemic. In neighboring Arlington, five deaths this month are being investigated as possible drug-related overdoses.
“Based on preliminary investigations, police suspect the deaths are linked to heroin and prescription painkillers mixed with fentanyl (a synthetic opioid),” the city said in the release, “and urged those who may be affected by addiction or opioid use to take steps to protect themselves and others.”
The city noted that properly administering Naloxone, also known as Narcan, could save someone experiencing an opioid overdose.
“It is available without a prescription at all pharmacies, and can be obtained for free at the Alexandria Health Department main office (4480 King St.),” the city said. “People wishing to obtain the drug from the Health Department must first call 703.746.4888 to make an appointment so staff can take appropriate safety precautions. If there is no answer, leave a message and you will receive a return call. Free Narcan may also be obtained by appointment through the City’s Opioid Response Coordinator. Call 703.746.3326 and leave a message with your contact information.”