Deadly Week of Overdoses in Fairfax County; Possible Suspected Deadly Strain of Heroin to Blame

In just the past week, our detectives have investigated six deaths as overdoses, five of which are believed to be caused by opioids. The first overdose death occurred Friday, December 1 in Alexandria. The second death happened on Sunday in Fairfax Station. The third and fourth deaths were on Wednesday in McLean and Clifton. The fifth death occurred yesterday in Fairfax. The victims were between the ages of 22 and 34.

Our detectives believe there are batches of heroin currently on our streets which could be laced with fentanyl and carfentanil, synthetic opioids which can be lethal even in the smallest doses. Until lab results are received, we cannot confirm the five overdose victims died due to a result of these new batches appearing in the county.

“In my 20 years in Narcotics, I have never seen anything like this. Before this week, the highest number of opioid overdoses we had in a weekend was five, and fortunately, everyone lived,” said Second Lt. James Cox of the Organized Crime and Narcotics Division. “We don’t want to see anyone else die. Please have a plan in place. You may remain anonymous. Help is also available through the Community Services Board for anyone, including families suffering from addiction. Narcan is available and the Chris Atwood Foundation will give it out this evening between 6 and 8 p.m. at 11890 Sunrise Valley Drive in Reston.”

Since the start of 2017, there have been 102 fatal overdoses in Fairfax County.

  • Of those 102 overdose fatalities, about 70% have been confirmed to be opioid related.
  • Our detectives are still awaiting lab results for overdose cases reported within the last 90 days, but they expect the majority of them to also be opioid related.
  • Cases have involved people of varying ages, from their early 20s to mid-60s, with higher numbers seen between the ages of 25 and 35.

Since the rise of opioid use in late 2014, we have partnered with a number of local offices and organizations to educate members of our community on the dangers of opioid use and the resources available within our community to combat this growing concern. The outreach includes students, nurses, Parent Teacher Associations, Rotary Clubs, Citizen Advisory Committees and more.

In addition to general outreach and education on opioid use, some groups also offer free Narcan training. Narcan is a medicine that can reverse an overdose when used quickly and correctly. It is available without a prescription at local pharmacy stores in Virginia. Free training on how to use Narcan is available through the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB). Please visit for upcoming training dates and information. This training is open to everyone.

If you feel you may have overdosed or are concerned someone around you has, please call 9-1-1 immediately. Fairfax County Fire and Rescue personnel also carry Narcan and are trained in its use.

Symptoms of opioid overdose include some of the following:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Pinpoint pupils
  • Snore-like gurgling sounds
  • Breathing is low, shallow or erratic
  • Bluish purple, or ashen skin color
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Fingernails turn blue or close to black

Our officers and detectives are working diligently and around the clock to reduce the number of deaths caused by opioids. Please call 9-1-1 if you suspect an overdose. Help is available 24 hours a day. If you or someone you know needs help to overcome drug dependence, please call the Community Services Board at Merrifield Center at 703-573-5679 to help find appropriate treatment and recovery services. Walk-ins are also welcome Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Please continue to monitor our Twitter @fairfaxpolice and our blog, for the latest information.

Anyone with information about any of the incidents above is asked to contact the Fairfax County Police at 703-691-2131.  You can also submit a tip anonymously through Crime Solvers by calling 1-866-411-TIPS (8477), or electronically by visiting or text-a-tip by texting “TIP187” plus your message to CRIMES (274637). Text STOP to 274637 to cancel. Text HELP to 274637 for help. Message and data rates may apply. Anonymous Tipsters are eligible for cash rewards of $100-$1,000 if their information leads to an arrest.

Please continue to follow us on Twitter @FFXCrimeSolvers


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