Virgina First Lady Youngkin



By Judy Jesoro Rotich

On January 30, 2024, First Lady Suzanne Youngkin  announced the launch of a fentanyl awareness campaign in Virginia. The campaign, titled “Know the Signs: Stop the Silence,” aims to educate Virginians about the dangers of fentanyl and opioid misuse, particularly focusing on the alarming rise in fentanyl-related deaths in the state.

The announcement was made during a press conference held in Roanoke. In her remarks, First Lady Youngkin spoke about the devastating impact of the opioid crisis on families and communities across Virginia. She emphasized the need for increased awareness and education about the dangers of fentanyl, which is often mixed into counterfeit prescription drugs and illegal street drugs.

 

“Fentanyl is a deadly synthetic opioid that is 50 to 100 times more potent than morphine,” said First Lady Youngkin. “It is incredibly dangerous, and even a small amount can be fatal. We need to do everything we can to raise awareness about this issue and help people understand the risks of opioid use.”

 

First Lady Youngkin has also pledged to work with state and local officials to expand access to treatment and recovery services for people struggling with addiction. The launch of the fentanyl awareness campaign is a significant step in the fight against the opioid crisis in Virginia. By raising awareness about the dangers of fentanyl and providing resources for those in need, the campaign has the potential to save lives.

 

Attorney General Jason Miyares highlighted the dangers posed by fentanyl to public safety, including the risk of accidental overdoses and increased crime rates. He encouraged the public to report suspicious activity and cooperate with law enforcement efforts. “60 to 70% of counterfeit pills being sold right now are laced with fentanyl, it’s a chemical compound found everywhere in illicit substances on the streets,” said Miyares.

 

  • Christine, a reformed fentanyl user shared her personal story of struggle due to fentanyl addiction. Her firsthand account, including incarceration resonated with the audience and emphasized the human cost of the crisis and effects on close family members including children. She advocated for increased awareness and education about fentanyl dangers and shared their experiences of navigating the healthcare system and seeking help for loved ones struggling with addiction.

 

The announcement was met with widespread support and recognition of the urgency surrounding the issue. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid significantly more potent than morphine, has tragically impacted countless lives across the nation, and Virginia is no exception

(Additional reporting provided by Joseph Hammond)