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VA’s First Lady / AG Miyares / Local Leaders Launch Fentanyl Awareness Pilot Program in Roanoke 


First Lady Suzanne S. Youngkin and Attorney General Jason Miyares announced the launch of their Fentanyl Awareness Pilot Program at the Fralin Biomedical Research Institute in Roanoke, VA.

The first-of-its-kind, Virginia Department of Health awareness initiative is being implemented with support from the First Lady of Virginia and the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth (VFHY) in partnership with Attorney General Miyares’ ‘One Pill Can Kill’ campaign.

The campaign strives to warn parents and caregivers that “It only takes one.” One bad decision, one counterfeit pill can cost a life. An average of five Virginians die from fentanyl poisoning every day, becoming the leading cause of unnatural death in the Commonwealth. Since 2019, deaths have more than doubled in the Roanoke region.

“Fentanyl is killing our young people and hurting families across the Commonwealth,” said First Lady Suzanne S. Youngkin. “By bringing attention to the dangers of this illicit drug, while giving a voice to victims, we aspire to save lives. Ultimately, caring for one another is our higher calling.”

First Lady Suzanne S. Youngkin, Attorney General Miyares and Roanoke City Mayor Sherman Lea spoke to the importance of increased education on the dangers of fentanyl at the press conference, along with others who have been personally impacted by the crisis.

“As our family approaches the one-year mark from when we lost our only child, Cayden Foster, we wholeheartedly support this initiative. Addressing this issue requires a comprehensive approach that includes removing dealers from our neighborhoods and schools, spreading awareness, treating addiction and more,” said Afrodita and Sean Foster. “This initiative will help greatly with that effort, and we look forward to continued partnership with the First Lady and Attorney General to push back and eliminate the flood of this deadly poison into our communities.”

Fentanyl can be mixed with marijuana or made to look like prescription pills such as Xanax, Adderall or Percocet. Unsuspecting young adults often turn to these pills to help themselves cope with stressor pain, unaware that they are not legitimate pharmaceuticals. To combat this, the multi-media campaign will distribute targeted messaging in the Roanoke area to spread awareness of the drug and provide a web-based resource platform for Virginians to access information on where to get help.

“Our teens and college-aged kids often don’t realize that one pill can kill unless a friend or loved one is impacted by fentanyl,” said Attorney General Jason Miyares. “Educating parents, teachers and friends about the threat is a simple but powerful way to fight fentanyl before it ever has a chance to harm our loved ones.”

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