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SAPCA Members,  
The SAPCA Board 



* Risky Behaviors Workshops at FACE Centers
* Grant Site Visit (11/17)
* SAPCA Quarterly Meeting (11/20)
* SAPCA to attend National Youth Leadership Forum (2/2 - 2/6)
* Alexandria Mentoring Partnership Recruitment (1/26)
* Youth Mental Health First Aid
* Researchers Developing Breath Test for Marijuana-Impaired Driving
* Survey Finds Holiday Drinking Leads to High-Risk Behavior
* Restricting Locations for Alcohol Sales May Help Reduce Domestic Violence: Study


Risky Behaviors Workshops at FACE Centers


SAPCA, the Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy, and the Gang Prevention Task Force presented, "It's Never Too Early and Never Too Late to Talk to Your Kids" to over twenty-five parents at Family and Community Engagement Centers throughout Alexandria. Parents learned how to talk to their kids about tough subjects such as drugs, sex, and violence and specific techniques they could use to monitor their children. Parents asked, "Who in the school do we contact if we think our child is in danger?" They were provided with the contact information for their school's principal, counselors and social workers.


If you would like to host a presentation, contact Noraine at


Grant Site Visit (11/17)


SAPCA hosted a site visit with staff members from the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) on November 17. Charles Reynolds, Division Director; Costella Green, Branch Chief and Curtis Austin, SAPCA's Drug Free Communities Grant Project Officer visited SAPCA to learn about the coalition and how they are creating community-wide change. Reynolds, Green and Austin met with Kate Garvey, Director of the Department of Community and Human Services, to discuss how closely SAPCA works with the different sectors in the community and plans for sustainability.


Austin spent the day with Allen Lomax, SAPCA Chair and Noraine. He had lunch with several members of the Board, Kim Hyde, Teresa Tidwell, Shelly Morgan, and Deputy Valarie Wright. Later, he met representatives from SAPCA's partners, including, Margaret Orlando, Department of Parks, Recreation and Cultural Activities; Sergeant Nick Ruggiero, Alexandria Police Department; and Andrea Melara and Hadeel Elimam, student leaders of the Above the Influence Club. Austin said he was proud of the youth's commitment to prevention, and grateful for the work SAPCA was doing in the community.



SAPCA Quarterly Meeting (11/20)


SAPCA held elections for the Board of Directors at their quarterly meeting on November 20. Congratulations to the returning Board Members, and a fond farewell to Sandy Freedman. The Board would like to thank Sandy for all of her hard work over these past two years.


SAPCA members also worked on crafting a position statement for marijuana. Members discussed the difference between legalizing recreational marijuana, marijuana decriminalization and legalizing marijuana for medical purposes. Board members will review the material and craft the position statement.


For those not in attendance, you can share your thoughts with Noraine and




SAPCA to attend National Leadership Forum (2/2 - 2/6)


Several SAPCA members, including six youth, will attend the  Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) National Leadership Forum from February 2nd through the 6th. The Forum is a four-day event, packed with opportunities to learn the latest strategies to fight substance abuse and hear from nationally-known prevention experts, federal administrators and concerned policymakers.


The youth, Andrea Melara, Yahya Yaziji, Fahria Hossain, Abby Hamilton, Hadeel Elimam and Gabi DelCid, will participate in the National Youth Leadership Initiative (NYLI) track. The NYLI is a "Youth-Led, Adult Guided" training experience designed to teach young coalition members and their adult advisors how to dismantle community problems as a team. It is a one stop shop for young change agents. 



Youth Mental Health First Aid 


The Department of Community and Human Services will be hosting Youth Mental Health First Aid courses in the coming months.  Youth Mental Health First Aid is designed to teach parents, family members, caregivers, teachers, school staff, peers, neighbors, health and human services workers, and other caring citizens how to help an adolescent (age 12-18) who is experiencing a mental health or addictions challenge or is in crisis. Youth Mental Health First Aid is primarily designed for adults who regularly interact with young people. The course introduces common mental health challenges for youth, reviews typical adolescent development, and teaches a 5-step action plan for how to help young people in both crisis and non-crisis situations. Topics covered include anxiety, depression, substance use, disorders in which psychosis may occur, disruptive behavior disorders and eating disorders. Youth Mental Health First Aid Courses are scheduled for:

  • January 26 and 28, 2015 3:30-8:30 p.m.
  • February 9 and 11, 2015, 4-8 p.m.

 Click here to register.




Researchers at Washington State University are developing a breath test for THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana. The test could be used to determine if a person is driving under the influence of marijuana, according to The Seattle Times.


Drug-impaired driving has become an increasing concern since recreational marijuana use became legal in Washington in 2012. The Washington State Toxicology Laboratory reported 25 percent of tested blood samples taken from suspected impaired drivers tested positive for active THC in 2013, compared with 18.6 percent in 2012.


Currently there is no portable tool that allows law enforcement officers to test drivers for marijuana impairment using a breath sample, the article notes. Officers now use blood tests to determine how much THC is present in a driver's blood. Test results are not immediately available.



One-fifth of parents with children under age 18 have blacked out after drinking too much at a party, according to a new survey. One-third of adults who drink at parties admit to driving after consuming too much alcohol, according to the survey commissioned by Caron Treatment Centers.


The survey also found one-third of adults are comfortable with an 18-20 year old drinking at a family holiday party, as long as they have only one glass and are not driving.


The online survey, conducted by Harris Poll, revealed 59 percent of adults age 21 and older who attend holiday parties and drink too much alcohol have engaged in potentially serious and dangerous behavior.

The survey found the majority of those who attend parties have witnessed someone who was "under the influence" at a party arguing with others, using excessive profanity, flirting inappropriately or becoming physically aggressive.


"Alcohol is still one of the deadliest drugs in our society," said Doug Tieman, Caron's President and CEO. "Our culture has normalized substance abuse to the extent that many people don't perceive significant consequences as cause for concern even though they can indicate serious problems. Many of the unintended victims, of course, are our children. We all need to be accountable for our behavior. But if you are an alcoholic, it's unlikely that you can change your behavior without significant help. You will need support to develop the skills and tools to lead a happy and productive life without alcohol."




Reducing the number of bars, restaurants, liquor stores and other locations where alcohol is sold in a community may help reduce domestic violence, a new study suggests.The findings come from research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which reviewed 16 previous studies that examined the link between alcohol sales in communities and rates of domestic violence. The investigators evaluated many factors, including the number of hours and days alcohol was sold, alcohol pricing and taxes, and the number of locations where alcohol was sold.


Only the number of alcohol sales outlets was consistently associated with rates of domestic violence, HealthDay reports. Most of the studies found a link between a greater number of locations where alcohol was sold and higher rates of domestic violence. The link held even when factors such as local poverty and unemployment rates were taken into account.



Noraine Buttar, MPH
421 King St
Alexandria, VA 22314
703.746.3670 (office)
703.887.8812 (mobile)