Spike in Overdoses in the Northern Shenandoah Valley Being Reported

Published Date: Dec 7, 2019

Six opioid overdoses have been reported by the Northwest Virginia Regional Drug Task Force since Tuesday – one of them fatal. This after no overdoses were reported between November 22nd and December 2nd. A spike such as this in overdoses indicates that the heroin being sold and used in the community is highly potent and more likely to cause an overdose. The Northern Shenandoah Valley Substance Abuse Coalition (NSVSAC) is urging family and friends of people who use opioids to carry naloxone and to know the signs of an overdose.

On Tuesday, a female overdosed in Frederick County and died a day later. On Wednesday, a non-fatal overdose was reported in Winchester and on Thursday non-fatal overdoses were reported in Frederick and Clarke Counties. On Saturday, two non-fatal overdoses were reported in Frederick County. This latest overdose increase brings the total number of lives lost to an opioid overdose in 2019 to 27 in the Northern Shenandoah Valley (City of Winchester and Counties of Clarke, Frederick, Shenandoah, Page, and Warren). There have been 137 non-fatal overdoses reported. In 2018, 22 people died of an opioid overdose and 151 non-fatal overdoses were reported in the region.

Signs of overdose include an unresponsive person with blue or gray fingertips or lips; and slow, shallow or no breathing, often with gurgling or snoring noises.

You can help by:

  1. Sharing this information with your colleagues, friends, family, and community members.
  2. Having NARCAN! This medication reverses the effects of an overdose and saves lives. You can get NARCAN for free by:
    • Calling the Winchester/Frederick County Health Department at 540-722-3470 to schedule a time to attend a short training and to receive the medication.
    • Attending a REVIVE! training hosted by the NSVSAC. Contact Bethany Searfoss at 540-536-5004 to sign up.
  3. Referring family and friends who are living with addiction to Northwestern Community Services’ Peer2Peer Regional Warm Line, 24 hours a day/7 days a week at 1-833-626-1490. Northwestern Community Services also has the Within Reach Peer Resource Center located at 1014 Amherst Street, Winchester, VA, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m. and on Saturdays and Sundays from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. The Peer Resource Center is a safe place that is open to anyone in the community.
  4. Knowing the signs of substance use:
    • Bloodshot eyes, pupils larger or smaller than usual
    • Change in appetite or sleep patterns Deterioration of physical appearance, personal grooming habits
    • Sudden weight loss or weight gain
    • Tremors, slurred speech, or impaired coordination
    • Engaging in secretive or suspicious behaviors
    • Legal trouble
    • Neglecting responsibilities
    • Sudden change in friends or hobbies
    • Unexplained need for money or financial problems
    • Appearing fearful, anxious, or paranoid without a reason
    • Lack of motivation
    • Mood swings, increased irritability, or angry outbursts
    • Unexplained change in personality or attitude
    • Isolation
    • Prolonged time in the bathroom
  5. Talking to friends or family members who are living with addiction and offering support without being judgmental.
  6. Calling 911 if someone is overdosing.

For additional information and resources visit www.roadtorecovery.info and click on the treatment or resources tab at the top of the page.