The Surgeon General released the first-ever report on Facing Addiction in America on Thursday, Nov. 17. Among key findings in the comprehensive report are treatments and management of early interventions of substance use disorders, the many paths to wellness and recovery, and a vision for the future, which encompasses a broad, inclusive public health approach.
The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board reported a 9 percent increase in the number of individuals served with a history of heroin use from FY 2014 to FY 2015.
Through the first half of 2016, the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department assisted 40 patients with suspected heroin or opiate overdoses.
There were 18 deaths from heroin overdoses in Fairfax County in 2015.
Approximately 23.5 million Americans are in recovery from addiction. While addictions are common, many who become addicted are unaware of the treatment and supports that can help them recover.
In our community, the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB) can help. A new, anonymous online screening tool is now available on the CSB website. For help on where to find resources, talk to someone at the CSB at 703-383-8500 or visit the Merrifield center for a screening: Walk-in hours are Monday through Friday, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Merrifield Center is located at 8221 Willow Oaks Corporate Drive, Fairfax, just off Arlington Boulevard at the corner of Willow Oaks and Williams Drive.
The national opioid and heroin overdose crisis has captured the attention of residents and leaders across the country. Addiction is a medical condition and overcoming the powerful drive to use substances is difficult; support from family, friends and colleagues can help loved ones get started on the path to recovery. In conjunction with the release of the new report, behavioral health advocates urge all to observe a national night of conversation to engage in discussions about addiction and substance use disorders with those you love.
CSB clinicians and therapists urge parents, family members and caregivers to talk children about alcohol and drug use.
Oftentimes, parents have more influence over their children’s behavior, including substance use, than they think. Talking to your children about alcohol and drug use is not always easy, but it is important. Become informed, from reliable sources, about substances to which your children could be exposed, and about substance use disorders, and talk openly with your children about the risks.
Some tips to keep in mind, from the National Council for Behavioral Health and the CSB: Be a good listener; set clear expectations about alcohol and drug use, including real consequences for not following family rules; help your child deal with peer pressure; get to know your child’s friends and their parents; talk to your child early and often; and show support toward people in recovery. Extend kindness to people with substance use disorders and encourage treatment. Be supportive, not judgmental, of those that have problems.
Additionally, all are encouraged and welcome to attend upcoming, free community forum with a focus on drugs, addiction and personal stories of recovery and healing. CSB personnel and resources will be on hand.
"Parents Reaching Out To Educate Communities Together (PROTECT) Against Substance Abuse," a forum hosted by the Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 5 at the Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) Gatehouse Administration Center, in the First Floor Cafe. Hear the personal stories of those with lived experience; parents, young adults, and professionals. A resource fair with community organizations will be held from 6:30 to 7 p.m. Free parking is available at the bottom of the garage. Register for the event.
More information on substance use disorders and resources is available on the CSB website (www.fairfaxcounty.gov/csb/publications/substance-use-disorder.htm) and the National Council for Behavioral Health (www.thenationalcouncil.org). Seek help for yourself or those you care for; you are not alone.