What to Know
- Alexandria Police are determined to cut the supply of heroin and other opioids using the department’s new approach.
- The opioid epidemic has become so severe that detectives respond to every overdose.
- The city, meanwhile, wants to guide victims toward treatment.
When a 24-year-old man overdosed on heroin in Alexandria, Virginia, last summer, first responders saved his life with the drug Narcan.
But less than a day later, the man overdosed again -- from inside a hospital room in the city.
"Within 24 hours, we received another call, where the person had overdosed again, within the hospital," Alexandria Deputy Police Chief David Huchler said.
A drug dealer and his partner worked together to sell the drug to an overdose victim, Alexandria police said.
Michael "Flip" Filipowicz, 25, is accused of signing in as a guest at the hospital and giving the patient the drug. Police are still searching for him. He is expected to face a charge of conspiracy to distribute heroin.
Filipowicz was assisted by Dana Gotliffe, 20, who was arrested and faces the same charge.
Alexandria police are determined to cut the supply of heroin and other opioids using an approach they first introduced more than a year ago. The opioid epidemic became so severe that detectives now respond to every overdose.
“Our first step isn’t to charge the person that has overdosed,” Huchler said. “We’re looking to get to the suppliers and the dealers so that we can have an impact on the flow of drugs within the city.”
The city, meanwhile, wants to guide victims toward treatment. Officials have prioritized providing assistance to those who overdose, establishing an interagency opioid working group to monitor such cases. The group uses a map to analyze trends in overdoses or deaths that might suggest a prevalent and dangerous batch of heroin.
“The folks who are addicted and really at risk of dying, they need to get into the treatment system, and police have been huge allies in that approach, which is very progressive and different," said Liz Wixson, a spokeswoman in the Alexandria Department of Community and Human Services,
The city will host information sessions with the hope that overdose victims and their relatives will seek help. A “Community Conversation on Heroin and Opioids” is set to be held Feb. 28 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Minnie Howard Campus of T.C. Williams High School.