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Painkillers, Heroin Subject of April 13 Forum

Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Services William A. Hazel Jr. will join Fairfax County community leaders, local experts and parents in a special April 13 forum to highlight Fairfax County’s current fight against painkiller abuse and heroin use that has reached epidemic levels across the nation, according to a county statement. “Painkillers & Heroin: Our Community Problem” will be presented by the Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County (UPC) and the Fairfax County Neighborhood and Community Services (NCS) to raise awareness and help take action to prevent and reduce use among youth and young adults.

The event will be held Monday, April 13, from 7 – 9 p.m., at the Fairfax County Public Schools Gatehouse Administration Center, First Floor Café, at 8115 Gatehouse Road, Falls Church, VA 22042. The event is free. Hazel, who serves as the co-chair of the Governor’s Task Force on Prescription Drug and Heroin Abuse, is the event’s keynote speaker. He practiced orthopedic surgery in Fairfax County before assuming his state position, where he oversees 11 state agencies with more than 16,000 employees. Panelists will include: a parent who will share the tragic loss of her 21-year-old son; Jesse Ellis, Fairfax County NCS prevention manager; Sgt. Jim Cox, Fairfax County Police Department narcotics officer; Maria Hadjiyane, Inova Behavioral Health Adult Ambulatory Care, director; and Dr. Husam Alathari, Inova CATS Program (Comprehensive Addiction Treatment Services) medical director; and a local Virginia Commonwealth University student in recovery. A question-and-answer session will follow the presentations.

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