Supervisor Lawson Addresses Opioid Crisis in Prince William

| June 6, 2017 | 0 Comments | Community

Jeanine Lawson, Supervisor for the Brentsville Magisterial District of Prince William County

“Opioid Crisis: Knowledge is Power” Letter to the Editor, Submitted by Brentsville Supervisor Jeanine Lawson

In September of 2016, the Commonwealth of Virginia declared the opioid abuse crisis a public health emergency. Prince William County has not been immune to this crisis. In 2016 fire and rescue squads answered 498 overdose calls, which was an increase of 118 from the previous year. Of those overdoses, 52 resulted in death, up from 28 in 2015. These numbers only represent the number of reported cases, many go unreported.

During the fall of 2015, I had the opportunity to attend the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Citizen Academy. This experience was one that opened my eyes to the scope of opioid addiction. As a result, I decided to become more educated about opioid abuse and drug trafficking. Working with the DEA, Prince William County Police and Prince William County Schools, I held a town hall to update the community on the dangerous narcotics that are present here in our county. These groups produced concerning information about what is “hidden in plain sight” here in PWC.

Today’s opioid abuser does not have a stereotype. It can be the returning veteran or the soccer mom with a two-year-old strapped in a car seat. Addiction can start in a variety of ways. So the question is, how do we stop what seems to be a runaway train? KNOWLEDGE. Become informed. This Thursday, June 8 from 5:30-9 p.m., the Community Healthcare Coalition of Greater PWC will host an event at Forest Park High School. This event will provide citizens with information and resources to fight this crisis at our local level. The FBI documentary “Chasing the Dragon” will be shown and representatives from federal, state and local agencies will be on hand to answer questions.

At one time, there was an anti-drug campaign in the schools called Red Ribbon Week. “Knowledge is Power” was the catch phrase taught to students. Join me on June 8 to gain that needed information about the opioid crisis. Use that knowledge as the power to work at stopping an addiction before it starts, or help someone around you that might be a victim of this crisis.

Jeanine Lawson

Brentsville District Supervisor

Prince William Board of County Supervisors

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