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Fatal overdose of Justice High School student under police investigation

Fairfax County police (file photo)

Fairfax County police are investigating the death of a teenager who experienced a drug overdose while at her home in Seven Corners earlier this week.

Detectives have determined that the girl became unconscious while on a video chat with a friend from an apartment in the 2900 block of John Marshall Drive on Monday (Dec. 4), the Fairfax County Police Department reported today (Wednesday).

“The friend alerted a family member who found the juvenile unresponsive and called 911,” police said.

When officers responded to the scene at 6 p.m., they found that the teen was unconscious and not breathing. She was transported to a hospital, where she died.

The FCPD says detectives “found evidence of narcotic usage nearby.” Major Crimes Bureau and Opioid Investigation Unit detectives are collaborating on the investigation.

The fatal overdose was first reported yesterday by WJLA, which identified the teen as a Justice High School student based on a letter sent to the community by Fairfax County Public Schools Superintendent Michelle Reid.

The FCPD didn’t confirm the teen’s school, since the overdose didn’t occur on school property. FCPS deferred to the police department when asked for comment about the incident.

Earlier this year, the Fairfax County Health Department reported a concerning uptick in overdoses among youth, nearly all of them involving fentanyl. As of Oct. 31, there have been 50 non-fatal opioid overdoses by people 17 and younger, and there were three fatal overdoses in that age group as of June 30, according to the county’s data dashboard.

Last month, Gov. Glenn Youngkin directed local schools to notify families about school-related overdoses after Loudoun County reportedly saw 10 non-fatal overdoses between the beginning of the school year in August and November, including eight in three weeks at Park View High School.

In Arlington, two people were charged after a pair of teen girls were hospitalized for drug overdoses at Wakefield High School on Sept. 27.

The FCPD advises families to encourage open communication, awareness and education for both parents and children about the risks of drug use.

Know the Signs: Be aware of the signs of drug use, such as sudden changes in behavior, declining academic performance, changes in friend groups, or unexplained financial difficulties. If you suspect drug involvement, seek professional help immediately.

Secure Medications: Safeguard prescription medications at home, keeping them locked away and out of reach of children and teenagers. Dispose of expired or unused medications properly through safe at-home disposal methods or designated drop-off locations in your community.

Supportive Environment: Foster a healthy and supportive environment within your family and community. Encourage participation in extracurricular activities, hobbies, and sports, providing positive outlets for expression and personal growth.

Community Collaboration: Engage with community organizations, schools, and local law enforcement agencies to collectively address the issue of youth drug usage. Participate in neighborhood watch programs, community events, and initiatives that promote drug prevention, like the Fairfax Prevention Coalition. Share messages from the County’s Opioid Communications Toolkit with your neighbors, family and friends.

Sign up for a virtual training on how to recognize the signs and symptoms of an opioid overdose and administer naloxone nasal spray to reverse an opioid overdose. After completing the training, individuals 18 and older will receive Narcan, fentanyl test strips and treatment information.

For life-threatening situations, community members should call 911, the FCPD says.

“Fairfax County Fire and Rescue personnel carry medication that can prevent deaths from opioid overdose,” police said in the news release.

Treatment services are available through the Fairfax-Falls Church Community Services Board (CSB). The agency’s entry and referral line can be contacted at 703-383-8500, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The CSB’s emergency services line is available 24 hours a day at 703-573-5679, and the Fairfax Detoxification Center can be reached at 703-502-7000.

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