A Virginia teenager is one of the latest victims of the heroin epidemic facing the nation.
Fairfax County Police said Alexia Springer, a 17-year-old student at Centreville High School, was found dead of a suspected heroin overdose at her home on March 1, WTTG News reports. Her body was discovered by a friend who had spent the night.
According to police, Springer died of complications caused by heroin use.
Hours after Springer's death, another Fairfax County resident was found dead of a suspected heroin overdose. The 28-year-old man, who has not yet been identified, was found by a family member in the bathroom. He was reportedly suffering from the overdose at that time, but he later died at the hospital.
Experts believe that heroin use among teenagers has increased in recent years largely due to its low price and ease of accessibility, relative to a decade ago.
“Before we weren’t that worried about it, let me tell you why,” Dr. Joseph Mancusi, clinical psychologist, told WTTG News. “Because it wasn’t happening here, it was happening there, to them. Now, our kids in our schools, and we can’t say it’s them."
Crisis and grief counselors have been dispatched to the high school, and school officials plan to review the drug education and prevention curriculum that is given to students.
“We do not have enough trained counselors in our schools,” Mancusi said. “We do not have enough trained counselors in the community. If you would take every child who has a problem and the mother discovers, or the father discovers a drug on them, and try to find real help, it’s limiting."
On the Fairfax Underground forums, local residents are both grieving the 17-year-old and hoping that her death sends a message to other high school students.
“She had a lot going on in her life and I just pray that she is in heaven with God,” user Joeyboeytoey wrote. “She was a beautiful person, so please pray for her family and friends.”
“Alexia was a beautiful beautiful girl and it's sad to see her gone so soon,” user RIP wrote. “This is a very important lesson that all high schoolers need to learn. I don't know if she over dose at a party or what but if she was around people while taking drugs they're are accountable for her death. No matter how bad the situation is if you see someone taking too much you need to stop them […] call 911 and get them help.”