Lynchburg conference provides resources on International Overdose Awareness Day

LYNCHBURG, Va. – International Overdose Awareness Day is Wednesday, and organizations in Lynchburg are working together to provide help.

During a conference at the Centra Health Pearson Cancer Center, speakers shared their personal experiences.

“She was murdered. She was murdered by fentanyl,” said Deborah Adair, whose daughter, Lucy, struggled with addiction and died in 2021 from drugs laced with fentanyl.

Lucy was 26 years old.

Adair hoped her story would raise awareness about overdose, especially among young people.

“Their brain is wired to think, ‘okay, this is the time in my life where I should experiment. I want to try new things!’ That’s what they’re supposed to do. Unfortunately, one of their options today is drug use,” said Adair.

Drug use is getting worse, according to the health experts and first responders at Wednesday’s conference.

Leaders from Horizon Behavioral Health, Central Virginia Health District, Centra Health, Lynchburg Police Department, and Blue Ridge Emergency Medical Services Council discussed resources to prevent overdose.

Adair urged parents to talk with their children – regardless if they know whether their kids are using drugs or not.

“Unless we all work together unless we talk to each other very frankly, we’re going to lose. When I say we’re going to lose, we’re going to lose life, afterlife, afterlife,” said Adair.

Jonathan Hallahan can relate.

“I’m still, to this day, watching people, friends, and family members die of this disease of addiction,” said Hallahan, who also shared his personal experience during the conference.

32-year-old Hallahan said he came close to overdosing several times and began treatment in 2018.

The Roanoke native said he’s had setbacks, but this Christmas would mark two years of sobriety.

Hallahan hopes others will get the help they need.

“I’m just grateful to be alive. If it weren’t for my recovery, I wouldn’t be here,” said Hallahan.

If you or someone you know is struggling with drug addiction you can call the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration hotline at 800-662-HELP (4357).

You can also visit

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About the Author:

Tim Harfmann joined the 10 News team in September 2020 and works at the station's Lynchburg bureau.