LYNCHBURG, Va. (WSET) — Fatal drug overdose remains the leading method of unnatural death in Virginia, with recent data revealing that 76.5% of these deaths are due to fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is up to 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine (VDH) (DEA). In response, local leaders in Lynchburg are teaming up in support of the international movement that is recognizing and responding to the rise in overdose deaths.
In allied partnership, the Blue Ridge Emergency Medical Services Council, Central Virginia Health District, Centra Healthcare, Horizon Behavioral Health, and the Lynchburg Police Department led a panel discussion on Wednesday to raise awareness and educate the community on resources available for individuals who may be at risk of unintentional overdose.
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Members of the local community gave voice to the impact overdose is having on our community while Dr. Gately of the Central Virginia Health District will lend expert insight on the landscape of overdose in the Central Virginia region. The event was held at the Pearson Cancer Center from 10 to 11 a.m.
Dr. Kerry Gateley, Director of the Central Virginia Health District, emphasizes the importance of overdose awareness with a reminder that "Overdoses are occurring more frequently. Anyone can overdose, and an overdose can happen anywhere, at any time.”
“I support IOAD [International Overdose Awareness Day] because our communities need to understand how and why overdoses happen, and what can be done about overdoses and substance use disorders in general," Gateley said.
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Community members were invited to support the cause by participating in Virginia’s rapid REVIVE overdose response training which will be offered at a variety of locations from 12 to 2 p.m. and 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesday.
Narcan will also be provided to all who are trained at participating locations: