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SAPCA Members,  



* TC ROTC Students "Pass It"
* Above the Influence Club Members Attend CADCA's NYLI
* Kick Butts Day (3/18)
* Help Fight Proposed Cut to the Drug-Free Communities Program
* Can We Talk? Building Communication Between Parent and Teen (2/26)
* Jump in Colorado School Drug Cases May be Linked to Marijuana Legalization: Experts
* American Academy of Pediatrics Says No to Marijuana Legalization
* D.C. Mayor: Despite Legal Pot, City Will Not Become "Like Amsterdam"


TC ROTC Students "Pass It"  




Shelly Morgan, SAPCA's Vice-Chair and Noraine facilitated an Above the Influence (ATI) activity with students in T.C. Williams' ROTC program. Above the Influence is a program of the non-profit, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.


The youth participated in Pass It!, an activity that helps

teens realize that they are not alone, because their peers are also experiencing similar issues. After working in teams to create a box that reflected each of their personalities, the teens placed index cards in the boxes, answering the questions: ____ is important to me; ____ prevents me from doing what is important to me and _____ can help me achieve what is important to me. The teens had the opportunity to reflect on their values and experiences, which can help them rise above obstacles and different pressures in their environment the next time they are confronted with them.


Above the Influence Club Members Attend CADCA's NYLI   

by Abby Hamilton, SAPCA Social Media Intern and Above the Influence Club Member




The week of February 2nd, I and five other youth members of SAPCA and the T.C. Williams Above the Influence club boarded a city van headed towards National Harbor in Maryland to attend the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) National Youth Leadership Institute (NYLI). Because this was the first year SAPCA has participated in the NYLI, even veterans of the conference did not know what to expect.


 The three day NYLI session began Monday afternoon following a keynote speaker touching on the importance of public health. The six of us were introduced to other youth coalition members from states as far as Alaska while being immersed in activities that encouraged our coalition to consider strategic steps for reaching more youth in Alexandria.


Our coalition participated in group activities and team building exercises that introduced us to activities that we will use to promote unity in SAPCA. One exercise in particular revealed that some in the group had family members and friends that inspired their work in substance abuse prevention. The activity was memorable and revealing of the institute as a whole.


The members of our coalition were trained in Strategic Prevention Framework and through this, created an action plan where we explored tactics to expand our coalition, including beginning an Above the Influence club at Minnie Howard, George Washington, and Hammond.

We collaborated with other coalitions in the institute whose target initiative also focused on teenage marijuana use. Our group learned about a variety of regional substance abuse problems beyond typical drug and alcohol abuse while being provided with the tools to implement proven solutions to these problems.


Coalition member Yahya Yaziji had a variety of takeaways from NYLI. "NYLI will help me better understand our actions and focus areas in the coalition. I also improved my presentation skills, so I will use that that for SAPCA in areas such as wreckED."


Three out of the six SAPCA attendees are in the application process to become a CADCA NYLI trainer in the coming year. Andrea Melara, T.C. Williams Above the Influence President; Yaziji; and myself were inspired by the conference to become further involved with CADCA, which is headquartered in Alexandria. Becoming an NYLI trainer entails an application and interview process followed by monthly workshop trainings. Trainers follow the CADCA slogan of "Youth Led, Adult Followed," by facilitating the NYLI conference and activities in the coming year.


"I thought that the conference was great. I learned and reinforced what I had known about leadership and creating plans for action," reflected Yaziji. "I am excited to use these new strategies in SAPCA and as a CADCA trainer in 2015."


The takeaways were numerous for the youth in attendance, but especially for those in leadership within their own coalitions. "At CADCA my passion for substance abuse prevention was reignited...I am so excited to use what I learned at the conference to impact our club and coalition," said Melara.



Kick Butts Day  (3/18)


Kick Butts Day is Wednesday, March 18, 2015. It is an annual day of activism, sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, that empowers youth to take action against tobacco use. More than 2,000 events are held around the country mobilizing youth to raise awareness about the problems of tobacco use in schools and the community.


On Kick Butts Day this year, SAPCA, in partnership with the Campagna Center's Building Better Futures Program, Jefferson Houston's 21st Century Community Learning Center and the Alexandria Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities, is supporting the Food and Drug Administration's Break the Chain campaign, which will engage over 30 Alexandria youth in ensuring that tobacco vendors are checking photo IDs.


Mayor Euille will kick off the event on Wednesday, March 18 at 3:30 p.m. at T.C. Williams High School, 3330 King St. Deputy Chief David Huchler, Alexandria Police Department, will speak at the kick-off. The event will be emceed by TC Students, Abby Hamilton and Andrea Melara.


For more information about the Kick Butts Day event and the Break the Chain Campaign, visit www.preventitalexandria.org or contact Kim Hurley at kim.hurley@alexandriava.gov or 703.746.5459.



Help Fight Proposed Cut to the Drug-Free Communities Program



In his FY 2016 budget request, the President recommended only $85.7 million for the Drug-Free Communities (DFC) program. This is a $7.8 million cut from the $93.5 million level appropriated in FY 2015. The President's FY 2016 budget request would support only 52 new grants. If the program is funded at last year's level of $93.5 million, 96 new grants would be funded. Given that funding for substance abuse prevention programs has been cut by 48% since FY 2005, it is critical that the DFC program, one of the few remaining bona fide substance abuse prevention programs, be funded at $93.5 million in FY 2016.


A "Dear Colleague" letter is currently circulating in both the House, sponsored by Representatives Fitzpatrick and Levin, and the Senate, sponsored by Senators Grassley and Leahy, in support of funding the DFC program at the highest possible level.


If you would like to support the DFC program, you can use CADCA's CapWiz system to fax the sample letter to our members of Congress.   The more letters the members of our congressional delegation receive on this issue, the more likely they are to support funding this program at $93.5 million.


CADCA's fax system allows you to automatically fax CADCA's sample letter on this issue to our legislators from CADCA's website.  To send faxes to your legislators, click here.


 If you would like to personalize your letter with examples from our community, please email nreul@cadca.org for a MS Word version of the sample letter.




Can We Talk? Building Communication Between Parent and Teen (2/26) (POSTPONED)


 Middle school students and their parents are invited to participate in an interactive workshop designed to support and enhance parent-child communications specific to adolescent needs. Parents will participate along with their child, and free childcare and light dinner will be provided. The event will be held at Jefferson Houston (1501 Cameron Street, School Library, 2ndFloor).


 Stay tuned for the new date.



Colorado middle schools reported a 24 percent increase in drug-related incidents last year, according to USA Today. School-based experts tell the newspaper they believe the jump is directly related to marijuana legalization. Recreational sales of marijuana began on January 1, 2014.

Schools do not report which kinds of drugs are involved in the incidents, the article notes. State legislators are now asking school districts to keep track of which drugs they are finding.


John Simmons, the Denver Public Schools' Executive Director of Student Services, says schools in his city saw a seven percent increase in drug incidents, from 452 to 482. Almost all of the incidents were related to marijuana, he said.


Middle schools across the state reported a total of 951 drug violations, the highest number in a decade. School officials say while marijuana use has long been a problem, more students are trying it now that it is more easily available and socially accepted.


"Middle schoolers are most vulnerable to being confused about marijuana," said Dr. Christian Thurstone, attending physician for the Denver Health Adolescent Substance Abuse Treatment program. "They think, 'Well, it's legal so it must not be a problem.'"



The group representing the nation's pediatricians issued a statement this week opposing the legalization of marijuana. The drug can be harmful to adolescent health and development, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP).


The group said it supports the compassionate use of marijuana for some children who suffer from debilitating or terminal illnesses, HealthDay reports. The AAP also supports decriminalizing marijuana, in conjunction with programs designed to prevent marijuana use and to provide early treatment for adolescents with marijuana use problems.


The AAP noted marijuana can cause memory and concentration problems that may lead to difficulties in school. Marijuana can impair motor control, coordination and judgment, leading to an increased risk of accidental injury and death, the group stated in a news release. Regular marijuana use is also associated with psychological problems, worse lung health, and an increased risk of drug dependence in adulthood, the AAP said.


The group expressed concern about legalization of marijuana and its effect on teens. "Making it more available to adults - even if restrictions are in place - will increase the access for teens," said Dr. Seth Ammerman, a member of the AAP Committee on Substance Abuse and an author of the policy statement. "Just the campaigns to legalize marijuana can have the effect of persuading adolescents that marijuana is not dangerous, which can have a devastating impact on their lifelong health and development."


The AAP said it opposes medical marijuana "outside of the usual process by the Food and Drug Administration to approve pharmaceutical products." It noted there has been little research on medical marijuana for adults, and there have been no published studies on marijuana involving children. The group supports further study of marijuana for medical conditions.



D.C. Mayor Muriel E. Bowser on Tuesday vowed that the nation's capital will not become another Amsterdam when marijuana legalization takes effect on Thursday. Bowser said she would ask the D.C. Council to approve emergency legislation to prohibit private clubs from following the model of Amsterdam coffee shops, where pot could be openly exchanged.


The move could rein in a potential free-for-all when a voter-approved measure to legalize marijuana takes effect on Thursday.

"Residents spoke loud and clear when they voted to legalize small amounts of marijuana in the District of Columbia," Bowser said. The task now, she said is, "to implement in a safe, fair and transparent way."

Although voters overwhelmingly approved legalization in November, Congress blocked the District the following month from enacting laws to regulate sales of the drug.


D.C. officials have contended that the congressional interference did not halt the voter approved measure, known as Initiative 71. Bowser's office said for the first time Tuesday that Initiative 71 will take effect at 12:01 a.m. on Thursday. That marks the end of a 30-day congressional review period in which conservatives in Congress could have moved to quash the measure outright. House Republicans have said they believe Initiative 71 was blocked by the spending restriction in December. The issue could be left to courts to decide.


Until then, Bowser and D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier laid out the contours of how District police plan to respond to the law change.

As specified in the ballot measure, District residents and visitors will be able to possess up to two ounces of marijuana - about a Ziploc bag's worth. Residents will also be able to cultivate the plant in their homes - up to six seedlings each and up to three plants to maturity. D.C. police will stop ticketing for possession, which last year was downgraded to a civil offense instead of a criminal one in the city. The department will also stop using the existence of marijuana on a person or in a home as rationale for investigating other potential criminal behavior.


Police, however , will attempt to draw a bright line prohibiting public use, said Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier. D.C. police will be instructed to continue ticketing for public smoking of marijuana, a ticket akin to drinking in public, punishable by up to 60 days in jail and a $500 fine.

Smoking in public restaurants, clubs or anywhere else that the public is invited to enter will also remain against the law, Lanier said. And growing pot will be permitted only indoors.





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