Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman is sending a warning to Loudoun residents after recent findings of the presence of a deadly synthetic opioid in three county overdose cases.
Recent lab results from two non-fatal overdoses that occurred in July 2017 and one in March 2017 show the presence of Carfentanil. These cases are the first confirmation of the drugs presence in Loudoun County. The synthetic opioid is 50 times deadlier than heroin, 10,000 times more potent than morphine and 100 times more potent that Fentanyl. “In many instances, heroin is cut with Carfentanil or Fentanyl. In either case, these substances, when added to the heroin, can easily and quickly cause death,” said Sheriff Chapman.
In light of the findings, the LCSO is reminding residents to never approach or touch suspected narcotics. The presence of Carfentanil or its derivatives has even required law enforcement agencies across the country to update policies and procedures when responding to opioid-related incidents. “The drugs can unintentionally be inhaled through the nose or mouth. Even trace amounts can result in severe adverse reactions putting those exposed to the drug in danger, including the general public,” said Sheriff Chapman. In November 2017, the White House released recommendations for first responders on how to protect themselves from exposure in the field to Fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.
A majority of the fatal heroin cases in Loudoun County resulted from a Fentanyl overdose. There have been no confirmed fatal overdoses from Carfentanil in the county.
Through the efforts of the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office to combat the heroin epidemic, fatal heroin overdoses have decreased 35% in Loudoun compared to this same time last year and non-fatal heroin-related overdoses have decreased 10% during the same time period.
In April 2015, Loudoun Sheriff Mike Chapman joined U.S. Representative Barbara Comstock (VA-10th District) to form the Heroin Operations Team (H.O.T.) which employs a comprehensive approach to combat the heroin scourge. The H.O.T. Team includes enforcement, education, prevention and recovery and incorporates local, state and federal law enforcement.
The Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office encourages residents to report possible narcotics activity by contacting the Loudoun County Sheriff’s Office Narcotics HOTline by calling 1-833-HOT-TIPS (1-833-468-8477). In an emergency, please call 9-1-1 immediately.