Substance Abuse Coalition Reports Increase in Heroin Overdoses

Published Date: Aug 25, 2016

The Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition is warning the public about the dangers of heroin use after seven people in the Northwest region have overdosed in the past five days.  From April 18th – April 24th law enforcement responded to seven heroin overdoses, none of which were fatal.  On April 20th, deputies with the Frederick County Sheriff’s Office responded to two overdoses that happened within 30 minutes of each other and were able to give the victims a dose of the overdose reversal drug naloxone.  One of the victims was 6 months pregnant.  The other recent overdoses occurred in Shenandoah County (2) and the City of Winchester (3).  Overdose deaths in our region are down from this time last year, when nine were reported by the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug and Gang Task Force.  Overdose injuries, however, are up, from 15 injuries last year, to 28 injuries this year.

The Coalition recognizes that if it were not for naloxone the death toll in our area would be much higher.  Frederick County Sheriff’s Deputies were trained in February to administer the lifesaving prescription medication.  Since then, they have successfully administered it four times.  The Clarke County Sheriff’s Office and Berryville Police Department are planning to train their deputies and officers on administering naloxone.

While the Coalition has seen a decrease in the number of overdose deaths in the Northern Shenandoah Valley, the organization finds the recent overdoses concerning.  Friends and family members of individuals struggling with the disease of addiction are encouraged to seek help for their loved ones by visiting or calling CONCERN HOTLINE at 540-667-0745.