City of Alexandria Raises Awareness of Drug Overdose and Recovery; City Hall Lights up Purple

Page archived as of September 10, 2020

City of Alexandria Raises Awareness of Drug Overdose and Recovery; City Hall Lights up Purple

For Immediate Release: August 27, 2020

Join the City of Alexandria and communities around the world in support of International Overdose Awareness Day on August 31. The goal of this annual day of recognition is to create a better understanding of drug overdoses; bring attention to drug-related deaths; acknowledge the grief felt by families and friends remembering those who have died or experienced permanent injury as a result of drug overdose; and raise awareness that substance use disorders can be successfully managed with treatment. 

To show solidarity, and in recognition of National Recovery Month in September, City Hall (301 King St.) will be lit purple with spotlights from the night of August 31 through the night of September 1. Throughout September, the City will continue to raise awareness and understanding of substance use disorders, including the launch of an opioid awareness campaign.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 67,000 people died of drug overdoses in 2018, making it the leading cause of injury-related death in the U.S. On August 12, the City reported that there had been nine non-fatal overdoses in Alexandria since July 24, seven of which were related to opioids. 

Opioids are a class of highly addictive drugs that includes 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. Learn more at

Residents can help prevent overdose deaths by being aware of the signs and knowing how to respond to an overdose. Symptoms of an opioid overdose may include a 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.

Naloxone (Narcan) is a medicine that, if given in time, can save the life of someone overdosing on opioids. It is available for free from the Alexandria Health Department by calling 703.746.4888 or from the City’s Opioid Response Coordinator by calling 703.746.3326.

Residents can also dispose of unwanted medicines at permanent drug drop boxes during business hours at The Neighborhood Pharmacy (2204 Mt. Vernon Ave.), 24 hours per day inside the front entrance of the Alexandria Police Department Headquarters (3600 Wheeler Ave.), and 1 to 5 p.m. daily in the Visitor’s Center Lobby of Inova Alexandria Hospital (4320 Seminary Road).

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 703.746.3636 (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.

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

For inquiries from the news media only, contact Andrea Blackford, Senior Communications Officer, at or 703.746.3959.

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This news release is available at