Church and Community Respond to Opioid Crisis

According to the Virginia Department of Health, in 2016, - the four counties in the Diocese of Arlington with the highest number of opioid overdose deaths are Fairfax, Prince William, Loudoun, and Spotsylvania.

For Immediate Release
September 12, 2018


ALEXANDRIA, Va. –  On Saturday, September 29th, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington (CCDA) and Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge will host a free daylong conference, “Seeking Hope and Healing in the Opioid Crisis,” to explore ways in which the community and the diocese can respond to the opioid crisis. Dr. Michael Horne, a psychologist with CCDA, will give the keynote address; Bishop Burbidge will lead a prayer service. 

When:                 Saturday, September 29, 10am – 3pm (Mass will be held at 9am)
Where:               Good Shepherd Catholic Church, 8710 Mount Vernon Hwy, Alexandria


The Diocese of Arlington covers 21 counties and seven cities in Northern Virginia.  According to the Virginia Department of Health (VDH), the opioid crisis has severely impacted parishioners and neighbors within the Diocese of Arlington where opioid overdose deaths have increased almost three times in five years, from 141 deaths in 2011 to 387 in 2016:  


2011     141
2012     138
2013     195
2014     251
2015     226
2016     387

In 2016, the four counties in the diocese with the highest number of opioid related overdose deaths are as follows:  


Fairfax, 97
Prince William, 59
Loudoun, 31
Spotsylvania, 30  

In fact, Fairfax County had the highest total number of deaths in the Commonwealth from 2007 to 2016 at 437 deaths.

Also, according to the VDH, state opioid deaths have jumped almost 100 percent in five years, from 649 deaths in 2011 to 1,268 in 2016.



About Catholic Charities, Catholic Diocese of Arlington

Catholic Charities is the charitable arm of the Catholic Church in the 21 counties and seven cities of the Diocese of Arlington under the leadership of Bishop Michael F. Burbidge. Catholic Charities serves the poor and vulnerable who live in the Diocese, whether or not they are Catholic. Catholic Charities services include food for the hungry, a free medical clinic, transformational housing for men and families, individual and family counseling, emergency financial aid, immigration and refugee services, job training and workforce development, prison ministry and former prisoner re-entry program.