City of Alexandria Recognizes International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31 and Urges Public Action

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City of Alexandria Recognizes International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31 and Urges Public Action

­­For Immediate Release: August 27, 2019

In observance of International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31, the City of Alexandria urges the public to take steps to prevent drug overdoses and reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths. City staff and community partners are asking for the public’s help to save lives from being lost to prescription and recreational drugs, especially opioids. 

Opioids are a class of highly addictive drugs that include prescription painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone, and illegal drugs like heroin. However, addiction is not always the cause of an overdose. Overdoses can happen to a patient recovering from surgery or injury; a teenager experimenting with illegal drugs for the first time; or a child who ingests leftover medication from a home medicine cabinet.

As in many communities throughout the country, the national opioid epidemic poses a significant threat to public health and safety in Alexandria. There are a number of resources available to the public to help prevent overdose deaths.

  • Know the Symptoms. Symptoms of an opioid overdose may include pale face, limp body, bluish lips or nails, vomiting or gurgling, drowsiness or unconsciousness, slow breathing or heartbeat, or muscle spasms. If an overdose is suspected, call 911 immediately.

  • Narcan Training. The City offers monthly REVIVE! training sessions to teach the public how to spot an opioid overdose and reverse it using the life-saving medicine Narcan (naloxone). Participants receive a free medical kit that includes Narcan upon the completion of training. For training dates and additional details, visit             alexandriava.gov/Opioids.

  • Narcan Availability. Narcan is available for free at the Alexandria Health Department (4480 King St.), Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Thursdays from 12:45 to 4:30 p.m. No appointment is necessary, but one can be made by calling 703.746.4888. Narcan is also available without a prescription at all pharmacies.

  • Drug Take Back Days. Residents are encouraged to prevent drug misuse and overdoses by disposing of unused prescriptions safely during Drug Take Back Days, which occur throughout the year and are posted in the City events calendar. Unwanted medicine can also be dropped off year-round at the following permanent drug drop-off boxes:

    • The Neighborhood Pharmacy (2204 Mt. Vernon Ave.), Monday-Friday, from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
    • Inova Alexandria Hospital (4320 Seminary Road), in the visitor’s lobby, next to the cashier’s window; daily from 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Treatment Programs. Information from the City’s Opioid Work Group about substance use disorder treatment resources and programs is available at alexandriava.gov/Opioids. The City’s Treatment Court uses a best-practice approach that combines substance use treatment with judicial oversight and monitoring to help participants achieve and maintain recovery and live law-abiding lives.

  • Additional Addiction and Overdose Resources. The City’s Department of Community and Human Services can help locate treatment options in Alexandria for anyone dealing with addiction, and is available 24 hours a day at 703.746.3400 (Virginia Relay 711). To get help stopping the use of heroin or other opioids, call the Opioid Treatment Program intake line at 703.746.3610.

  • Witnessing Illegal Drug Activity. To provide information regarding past overdoses or any illegal drug activity, please call the Alexandria Police Department at 703.746.6277.

For more information about how the City and community partners are addressing the local effects of the national opioid epidemic, including a proclamation by Mayor Justin Wilson, visit alexandriava.gov/Opioids.

For media inquiries, contact Andrea Blackford, Senior Communications Officer, at andrea.blackford@alexandriava.gov or 703.746.3959.

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This news release is available at alexandriava.gov/111091.

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