Over 160 Loudoun County Sheriff’s Deputies are now trained to administer the potentially life-saving drug naloxone to help counteract the effects of an opioid in an overdose. Additional patrol deputies recently were trained to administer the drug as part of a pilot project through Purdue Pharma and the National Sheriffs’ Association. The project provides the drug to the Loudoun Sheriff’s Office through a $350,000 grant.
Nationally, deaths from opioid overdoses have risen significantly since 2012, and Loudoun County is no exception. As of May 16, the Loudoun Sheriff’s Office has responded to 46 suspected opioid overdoses this year with 13 of those overdoses being fatal, the majority of which were believed to be heroin (pending toxicology).
According to Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office Detectives, four out of five users of heroin say they began their addiction with prescription opioids. “This addiction often starts from a medicine cabinet and not from a street corner,” said Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman. “Unfortunately, it often ends up on the street corner,” added Sheriff Chapman.
Distributors of heroin in most cases are the users themselves, traveling to Baltimore, MD, Washington, DC and West Virginia, to acquire the heroin, and then returning to Loudoun to provide the drug to a small group. “As the heroin is coming from outside of Loudoun, we continue to work with the High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) Task Force, the Drug Enforcement Administration and other federal partners to target regional sources. We also continue collaborative efforts with our state and local counterparts through street level enforcement. In addition, we are working with legislators, educators and treatment specialists to help save lives,” added Sheriff Chapman.
Efforts to combat drugs and the opioid epidemic have included:
- Expanded the D.A.R.E. program to 8th graders in Loudoun County Public Schools during 2012-2013 school year. The program was previously only taught to 5th graders.
- LCSO Rapid Response Unit and Tactical Enforcement Unit conducted interdiction enforcement and investigations to combat heroin and opioid epidemic. Since January 2015, the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office has conducted close to 100 heroin investigations, made 65 heroin related arrests, and an additional 71 prescription fraud arrests.
- Developed a drug awareness program with the DEA as part of the Technology Safety Program taught to parents at Loudoun County Public School clusters. (Courses taught in 2013-2014, and in 2015-2016).
- Coordinated with Loudoun County Public Schools Peer Group and the DEA to bring nationally recognized Chris Herren Project, as part of the Project Purple Initiative, to Loudoun County in February 2016. Over 700 students and parents attended.
- Brought the DEA traveling exhibit (Drugs: Costs and Consequences) to Loudoun County in 2016 for a limited engagement (Remains open until September 11, 2016). Students from Loudoun County Public Schools currently touring museum as part of their curriculum.
- Continuation of Nationwide Prescription Take-Back program in Loudoun County in coordination with the Purcellville Police Department, the Middleburg Police Department and the DEA. Since the inception of the DEA take-back program in 2010, nearly 8,000 pounds of unwanted and unused prescription medications have been taken off the streets of Loudoun County.
- In May 2015, announced participation in Safer Communities with CVS to have drug collection boxes located at three Loudoun Sheriff’s Office locations. Residents can now dispose of unwanted prescription medication all year long.