The former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called the opioid epidemic one of the “most important public health challenges of our time.” Nearly two million Americans are addicted to prescription opioids, which are generally prescribed to relieve pain.
More than 1,100 Virginians died from an opioid overdose in 2016.
“For far too many people living with addiction, they feel that they are living with stigma,” Murthy added. “Many people see addiction, still, as a character flaw or a bad choice. They don’t recognize that addiction is in fact a chronic disease of the brain.”
Understand the Risks
Opioids – natural, synthetic, illicit or otherwise – act on the body’s opioid receptors and all carry similar risks of dependency, addiction, and overdose. Heroin is the most commonly understood opioid, and as an illicit drug, it poses additional risks. Heroin laced with carfentanil (an opioid tranquilizer used on large animals) and/or fentanyl has appeared in illegal drug markets and is extremely dangerous. Learn the behavioral and physical signs of heroin use.
There are a number of local and national organizations that can help if you or a loved one has an opioid addiction.
Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board's Merrifield Center
The Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB) is the public agency that plans, organizes and provides services for people in our community who have mental illness, substance use disorders, and/or developmental disabilities.
All residents of Fairfax County and the cities of Fairfax and Falls Church can access CSB emergency services; entry and referral services; and wellness, health promotion and prevention services.
Address: 8221 Willow Oaks Corporate Drive, First Floor East, Fairfax, VA 22031
MetroBus (Routes 1Z, 1A and 1C), and Connector bus (Routes 401 and 402)
Phone: 703-383-8500 TTY 711
Hours: open Monday and Thursday from 10am to 5pm, Tuesday and Wednesday from 10am to 6pm, and Friday from 10am to 3pm
Emergency Services If you think someone is experiencing an opioid overdose, call 911 immediately.
If you or someone you know is experiencing a substance use crisis, call 703-573-5679 or go directly to the Merrifield Center. There is a fee charged based on an individual's ability to pay, but no one is refused services.
Peer-Run Resource Centers Connect to the community in a peer support environment where you can develop a self-directed life based on your visions and goals using the power of peer services. Peer-run programs are free of charge.
Call or visit the Merrifield Entry and Referral Services during normal business hours (Monday - Friday, 9am-5pm).