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SAPCA Members, 



SAPCA's youth arm, the Above the Influence Club, is recruiting new members! They have created a strong marijuana prevention plan that involves working with middle-schoolers, educating their peers and providing fun alcohol and drug-free activities. We need your help with implementation. If you would like to join, or work with youth who want to participate in Club activities, contact Emma West at  




* SAPCA Welcomes Two New Board Members
* Risky Behaviors Workshop at Community Lodgings (11/21)
* Board Meeting (1/8)
* Community Forum on Draft Children and Youth Master Plan (12/16)
* Commentary: Molly - What You Need to Know
* Teens Involved in Sports Drink More But Use Drugs Other Than Marijuana Less
* The Last Cigarette: Nine Ex-Smokers Who Quit the Habit For Good
* Teens With Parents Who Set Driving Rules 71% Less Likely To Drive Drunk, GHSA Says


SAPCA Welcomes Two New Board Members


SAPCA elected two new youth board members, Emma West and Jane Clinger to the board in November. Emma is the founder of the Above the Influence Campaign at T. C. Williams, SAPCA's youth arm. Emma currently serves as a member of the Children, Youth, and Families Collaborative Commission.


 Jane, an Alexandria resident, is a sophomore at a private school in Washington D.C. She is eager to become more involved in helping reduce youth substance use in the City.


Both Emma and Jane are already active members. Among other activities, they participated in Project Sticker Shock and attended the Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids Awards Dinner.



Risky Behaviors Workshop at Community Lodgings (11/21)

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 seventeen parents and other Spanish-speaking adults at Community Lodgings. Parents learned how to talk to their kids about tough subjects such as drugs, sex, mental health and violence, and specific techniques they could use to monitor their children. A special thanks to David Wynne, T.C. Williams Social Worker, for organizing the presentation.

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


Board Meeting (1/8)

Wednesday, January 8, 6:00-7:30 p.m., 720 North Saint Asaph St. 4th floor Conference Room.


Community Forum on Draft Children and Youth Master Plan (12/16)

The Children, Youth and Families Collaborative Commission (CYFCC) is seeking community input on the draft plan at a forum on Monday, December 16 at 6:30 p.m. in the T.C. Williams Rotunda Room, 3330 King St.


To view the draft plan, provide comments about the plan online, or learn more about the CYFCC, visit



The now-popular party drug named "Molly" sounds friendly and safe, and young people know that the name is supposed to refer to the pure crystalline powder form of 3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methylamphetamine or MDMA-what used to be taken in pill form as Ecstasy. But many are learning the hard way that, despite appearances, Molly is often not what it seems, and this version of MDMA is no more pure, safe, or innocent than its previous incarnation.


The euphoric effects of MDMA, like those of stimulants such as cocaine or amphetamines, come mainly from raising the level of the neurotransmitter dopamine in the brain's reward pathways. Unlike those drugs, however, MDMA also raises serotonin, the brain chemical boosted by many antidepressants. Serotonin affects mood, sleep, memory, and appetite, and also triggers the release of oxytocin and vasopressin, hormones that promote social behavior and bonding, which are likely responsible for the empathic closeness to others that MDMA users also experience.


Like stimulants, MDMA can be hazardous for those with heart problems, because it raises heart rate and blood pressure. At high doses it can also interfere with the body's ability to regulate temperature; this, especially in the high-energy context of a dance party, can cause the body to overheat, leading to liver, kidney, or heart failure. MDMA can also seriously deplete serotonin levels in the brain, causing confusion, depression, and sleep problems after it is taken. There is some evidence that frequent users may permanently damage serotonin-containing neurons, causing lasting mood and memory impairments.



Teens who participate in sports are more likely than their non-athlete peers to abuse alcohol, but less likely to use illicit drugs other than marijuana, according to an analysis of 17 past studies published in the journal Addictive Behaviors.


"It starts with parents but coaches and sporting organizations have a critical role to play here also," said lead author John Cairney of McMaster University. "If adults in these contexts are 'looking the other way' in regards to this behavior, we need to do something about it. Education, including training at the coach level (certification) may be one solution. Raising awareness of potential dangers to parents and youth themselves is important also."


Another study suggests teens who participate in sports may have great access to opioid pain medications, Reuters reports. The author of that study, Philip Veliz of the University of Michigan's Institute for Research on Women and Gender, said that parents and coaches should be aware of the potential danger of misusing these medications, since opioids have a high potential for abuse. The findings appear in the Journal of Adolescent Health.



Many ex-smokers can remember their last cigarette, and the moment when they decided to quit the habit for good.On the occasion of the Great American Smokeout on November 21st, an annual event sponsored by the American Cancer Society, CNN too a look at nine former smokers and the moment they decided it was time to say goodbye.



One group, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), an organization representing state highway safety offices, citied parental involvement as the most important factor in keeping young drivers safe on the road: "While developmental and behavior issues coupled with inexperience impact teen crash risk, parents play a critical role in helping teens survive their most dangerous driving years," the GHSA said, and urged parents to leverage graduated driver licensing (commonly known as GDL) programs.


The GHSA noted that researchers have found that teens with parents who set driving rules and monitor their activities in a helpful, supportive way are half as likely to crash, 71 percent less likely to drive intoxicated, 30 percent less likely to use a cell phone when driving, 50 percent more likely to buckle up, and less inclined to speed.


Noraine Buttar, MPH
720 North Saint Asaph Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
703.746.3670 (office)
703.887.8812 (mobile)