Virginia First Lady Suzanne Youngkin Addresses Fentanyl Dangers in Loudoun County, Virginia

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In a compelling event held on Wednesday evening, June 19, in Loudoun County, Virginia First Lady Suzanne Youngkin led a forum dedicated to raising awareness about the deadly risks associated with fentanyl. The event, hosted at the Community Church in Ashburn, brought together concerned parents and experts to discuss the growing threat posed by this powerful and dangerous substance.

“Right now, we are undergoing the biggest drug threat that this country has ever faced. Fentanyl is the biggest threat to Americans. Two hundred people a day die from fentanyl poisonings. These aren’t overdoses, they are poisonings,” said Shane Todd, a special agent with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).

The forum is part of a broader initiative led by Attorney General Jason Miyares, who has been traveling across Virginia to host "One Pill Can Kill" forums. These events aim to educate parents and communities about the lethal risks of street drugs. Youngkin, who joined Miyares on stage, also spearheads a fentanyl awareness campaign titled “It Only Takes One.”

As a mother of four, Suzanne Youngkin expressed her deep concern over the rise in fentanyl-related deaths among Virginia's youth. "I, as the mother of four, am particularly concerned about the more than 200 Virginia youth that lost their life to fentanyl just last year… So this is a tough topic and it can be persistently sad,” she said.

Adding to the emotional weight of the event, Loudoun County mother Jennifer Breaux shared the heartbreaking story of her son, Branson Gray Everette, who died at age 25 from fentanyl poisoning in February 2021. After a skateboarding accident left him addicted to painkillers, he turned to street drugs, which eventually led to his tragic death. Breaux’s testimony underscored the pervasive presence of fentanyl, even in seemingly safe communities.

“Sources for street drugs eventually found him and they are in every community, lest we think they’re not. In our beautiful streets and beautiful homes of Loudoun County, they are everywhere,” Breaux said.

Loudoun County Sheriff Mike Chapman highlighted the staggering toll of the drug crisis, noting that more than 100,000 Americans have died from drug overdoses each year for the past three years, with 70% of these deaths attributable to fentanyl.

DEA agent Shane Todd emphasized the critical role of communication in combating the fentanyl crisis. “You’ve got to talk to your family, talk to your kids, talk to your neighbors, talk to your relatives, talk to your co-workers,” he urged.

The forum also provided attendees with training in the use of naloxone, commonly known by the brand name Narcan. This nasal spray has been instrumental in saving lives by reversing the effects of opioid overdoses.

The forum in Loudoun County served as a stark reminder of the deadly threat posed by fentanyl and the urgent need for community awareness and action. By fostering open dialogue and equipping individuals with life-saving tools, events like these play a vital role in the fight against the opioid epidemic.

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