Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares launched his new “One Pill Can Kill” awareness initiative on Nov. 22, designed to encourage honest conversations between families about the threat posed by counterfeit drugs and opioids.
Miyares was joined by First Lady Suzanne S. Youngkin, who spoke about her new initiative “Women & Girls: Wellness”.
“The opioid epidemic has had a devastating effect on our Commonwealth,” Miyares said. “There is not a corner of our state that has not been touched by its pain and destruction. Tragically, overdose deaths are now not limited to addiction, but to counterfeit pills laced with a highly potent, deadly substance – fentanyl.
“Unfortunately, we have seen too many young people overdose and die after experimenting with these powerful drugs. As a father, this new threat terrifies me.”
During the campaign, 30-second radio and television advertisements will be broadcast throughout the state to warn listeners and viewers about the dangers of fentanyl and counterfeit drugs.
Following the press conference, Miyares and Youngkin hosted a roundtable with community leaders and behavioral health specialists on how Virginia can effectively reduce deaths from opioids and counterfeit drugs.
“With a keen eye on improving the well-being of Virginians, and in the spirit of Thanksgiving, we celebrate an honest conversation about the realities of overdose and fentanyl poisoning,” said Youngkin. “I hope families prioritize difficult discussions, hug each other tight, and get trained in REVIVE! because unfortunately we know it only takes one pill to kill.
In Virginia, the leading cause of unnatural death is drug overdoses — and has been since 2013. Opioids (particularly fentanyl) have been the driving force behind the big increases, according to state data.
In 2021, fentanyl contributed to 76.4% of all overdose deaths in Virginia. The overall number of fentanyl fatal overdoses increased by 22.8% between 2020 and 2021. Last year, it was estimated that about 98% of fatal overdoses of fentanyl in Virginia were caused by the illegal (rather than the prescription) version of the drug.