Prescription and Over-The-Counter Medication
City of Alexandria Officials Warn of Dangers Posed by Recent Spike in Opioid Overdoses, Especially Among Youth
On May 4, 2022, City of Alexandria officials warned the community about a recent spike in suspected fentanyl-related overdoses, especially in school-aged youth who report using a “little blue pill” they believed was Percocet. Illicit drugs are often laced with fentanyl, an inexpensive substitute that is up to 100 times more potent than morphine and can be deadly.
“Most juvenile cases reported involved either smoking or ingesting a ‘blue pill’ that is being sold as a Percocet pill,” said Captain Monica Lisle, Commander of the Criminal Investigations Division at the Alexandria Police Department. “There were two reported overdose deaths of juveniles last week in a neighboring jurisdiction involving this same type of pill, so we are doing all we can to warn youth and other community members of the resources available to combat this epidemic.
Here are some key facts to share to raise awareness about this topic in our community:
- Kids as young as 14 are crushing and smoking little blue pills they think are Percocet
- Six youth from Alexandria have recently overdosed requiring medical intervention
- Two youth died in Prince William County
- The pills may be laced with fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 100 times more potent than morphine
- Parents can get free Narcan and Fentanyl test strips – just email email@example.com or call 703.746.3326; if given in time, Narcan, can save the life of someone who is overdosing from opioids; fentanyl test strips detect the presence of fentanyl in unregulated injectable drugs, powders and pills
- For reliable info: the DEA has a great campaign, One Pill Can Kill, https://www.dea.gov/onepill and the City’s Opioid Work Group website, https://www.alexandriava.gov/Opioids
- Parents - have conversations with your kids about this
- Youth – let your friends and family know about the danger
- For confidential questions, concerns, or education reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or 703.746.3326
- To share information regarding the illegal sale of opioids or other drugs, call the Alexandria Police Department at 703.746.6277
- For life-threatening situations, call 9-1-1 immediately
Fast Facts: Prescription Drugs
When used as prescribed by a doctor, prescription medicines can be helpful in treating many illnesses. However, when these medicines are misused, they can have serious consequence. The three classes of prescription drugs are most often abused are opioids, depressants and stimulants.
- Opioids are used for pain relief. Examples include Vicodin or Oxycontin.
- Depressants are used to relieve anxiety or help a person sleep. Examples include Xanax or Valium.
- Stimulants are used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorders. Examples include Adderall or Ritalin.
When prescription drugs are abused, they can become addictive and put you at risk for harmful health effects, including:
- Sleepiness and disorientation
- Increased blood pressure, heart rate and body temperature
- Shallow/slowed breathing
- Constipation and upset stomach
Fast Facts: Over-The-Counter Medication
Over-the-counter medication, such as cough and cold medicine, can be purchased without a prescription from a doctor. These medications are safe to use when you follow the directions on the label and as directed by your health care providers.
Some cold medication contains the ingredient DXM (dextromethorphan). If someone abuses this medication and takes higher doses than recommended, harmful health effects can occur. These include: dizziness; double or blurred vision; slurred speech; abdominal pain; nausea and vomiting; rapid heartbeat; drowsiness; and coma or death.
FDA warns about serious problems with high doses of the allergy medicine diphenhydramine (Benadryl)
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning that taking higher than recommended doses of the common over-the-counter (OTC) allergy medicine diphenhydramine (Benadryl) can lead to serious heart problems, seizures, coma, or even death. There are several reports of teenagers ending up in emergency rooms or dying after participating in the “Benadryl Challenge” encouraged in videos posted on the social media application TikTok.
Prescriptions, including opioids and over-the-counter medication can be abused when a person takes a medication that was prescribed to someone else, takes their own prescription in a way not intended by a doctor, or takes a medication with the intention of getting high.
Help keep our community safe by locking up prescription and over-the-counter medication and disposing of unused or expired medication at one of Alexandria's permanent medication drop boxes.
Learn more about disposing of unused and expired medication safely.