Alexandria, Virginia, police are warning the public of a sudden spike in overdoses — especially, they say, among school-aged kids who took blue pills they believed were the pain killer Percocet.
Twelve people, including six under the age of 17, overdosed on opioids in the city of Alexandria from April 1 to May 1, police said. None of the overdoses were fatal, and officers revived many of the victims with Narcan, according to police.
Authorities suspect the counterfeit pills were laced with fentanyl, which can be deadly as it's up to 100 times more potent than morphine.
“There were two reported overdose deaths of juveniles last week in a neighboring jurisdiction involving this same type of pill, so we are doing all we can to warn youth and other community members of the resources available to combat this epidemic," Captain Monica Lisle, Commander of the Criminal Investigations Division at the Alexandria Police Department, said in a news release.
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Lisle urged the importance of speaking to young people about the dangers of illicit drugs and the "little blue pills."
Police shared images of a pill they recently confiscated that is small, round and pale blue with the imprint of an "M" inside a square shape to mimic an authentic M30 tablet.
Since the start of 2022, 30 opioid overdoses have been reported in Alexandria, police said. Two of those people died in January of confirmed fentanyl overdoses.
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Alexandria officials said the city has resources available to help combat the opioid epidemic, including that antidote Narcan. Residents can get Narcan for free from the Alexandria Opioid Work Group’s Mail Out program by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org and at the Alexandria Health Department (4480 King St.). Narcan is also available at most pharmacies throughout Alexandria.
Police are asking anyone with information about the illegal sale of opioids or other drugs to call 703-746-6277.
Those who need help can call 703-746-3400 to speak with staff at Alexandria's Department of Community and Human Services, call 703-746-3610 for treatment for opioid use or access detox services by calling 703-746-3636.