Home ‘One Pill Can Kill’ initiative website provides resources for Virginians in opioid crisis
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‘One Pill Can Kill’ initiative website provides resources for Virginians in opioid crisis

Rebecca Barnabi
opioid crisis
Photo Credit: Robert Wilson

Virginia Attorney General Jason Miyares launched “One Pill Can Kill” in November 2023 to create open conversations among families about the extreme threat that counterfeit drugs and opioids pose.

The initiative’s goal is to reduce opioid deaths, educate Virginians on the dangers of fentanyl-laced drugs, and provide community resources.

A new website and advertising campaign are available for the public awareness initiative, and will include resources for Virginians. Billboards across Virginia are planned to launch in February 2024, and cable, broadcast and digital/social media efforts will begin in March 2024. The campaign will run through October 2024.

The initiative is modeled after the Drug Enforcement Administration’s national campaign, and initially launched in 2022 as a series of Public Service Announcements aired statewide.

“The opioid epidemic has impacted every corner of the Commonwealth. It’s through education, prevention, and accessible resources that Virginians can fight back against the threat opioids and fake prescription pills present to us and to our loved ones,” Miyares said. “One Pill Can Kill is the product of federal and state programs working together to combat the fentanyl and opioid crisis facing our country. It will encourage open, honest conversations amongst families to ensure the health, safety, and prosperity of all Virginians.”

The One Pill Can Kill campaign will coincide with the It Only Takes One campaign, which focuses on the opioid crisis in Roanoke, and is led by First Lady of Virginia Suzanne S. Youngkin, with Miyares’ support.

Fake prescription pills containing lethal substances like fentanyl pose a significant threat to public health in Virginia. Officials from the Drug Enforcement Agency report a dramatic rise in the number of fake pills containing at least 2 mg of fentanyl, which is considered a potentially lethal dose. Criminal drug networks are flooding the Commonwealth with the pills, masquerading them as legitimate prescription drugs and deceiving the public.

Laboratory testing indicates seven out of every 10 pills seized by the DEA contain a lethal dose of fentanyl. In 2023, the DEA seized a record 74.5 million fentanyl pills, which exceeds 2022’s total of 58 million pills.

An estimated 1,967 Virginians died from overdoses of fentanyl or other synthetic opioids in 2022. Fentanyl, the synthetic opioid most commonly found in fake pills, is the primary driver in an alarming increase in poisoning deaths.

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca Barnabi

Rebecca J. Barnabi is the national editor of Augusta Free Press. A graduate of the University of Mary Washington, she began her journalism career at The Fredericksburg Free-Lance Star. In 2013, she was awarded first place for feature writing in the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Awards Program, and was honored by the Virginia School Boards Association’s 2019 Media Honor Roll Program for her coverage of Waynesboro Schools. Her background in newspapers includes writing about features, local government, education and the arts.