Youngkin wants to use sewers to track fentanyl use in Virginia
Gov. Youngkin wants to surveil sewage to track fentanyl use as part of a plan to address skyrocketing overdoses.
- Youngkin has set a goal of reducing opioid overdoses in Virginia by 20% during his term.
Why it matters: Opioid overdoses are the leading non-natural cause of death in the state, with fentanyl now accounting for the vast majority of those deaths, per Virginia Department of Health data.
📍 By the numbers: Richmond is at the center of the crisis, with 262 fatal fentanyl overdoses recorded last year, per preliminary VDH data.
- No city or county in the state had more overdoses per resident.
- Henrico County came in second, with 105 fatal fentanyl overdoses.
Zoom in: Youngkin's plan includes a directive to the Department of Health to develop "a cost-effective plan to utilize and fund wastewater surveillance to detect the frequency, potency, and occurrence of fentanyl use in specific locations."
- The aim is to distribute naloxone and launch public awareness campaigns where high use is detected, per the order.
The plan also directs more collaboration among law enforcement in jurisdictions with high rates of overdoses and instructs the Department of Health to work with local police departments to establish "overdose fatality review teams" tasked with identifying the source of drugs used in fatal overdoses.
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