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SAPCA Members, 
Help "Shatter the Myths" by celebrating National Drug Facts Week. Take the 2014 National Drug IQ Challenge! SAPCA will celebrate by participating in Drug Facts Chat Day on January 28 with the ROTC classes at TC Williams. If you have a question you would like us to ask scientists who work for the National Institute of Drug Abuse, send them to noraine.buttar@alexandriava.gov.




* SAPCA Attends DFC New Grantee Meeting
* Community of Concern Dinner at TC (2/6)
* Mentoring Information Session (1/28)
* ACAP Quarterly Meeting (1/30)
* Colorado Addiction Treatment Centers Brace for More Teens Referred for Marijuana Use
* Cigarette Graphic Warning Labels Could Have Large Impact on Smoking, Study Suggests
* States with More Alcohol and Traffic-Related Laws Have Fewer Traffic Deaths
* States with Stronger Alcohol Policies Have Lower Rates of Binge Drinking


SAPCA Attends DFC New Grantee Meeting (12/11-12/13)

Allen Lomax, SAPCA Chair, and Noraine attended the Drug Free Communities (DFC) New Grantee training. SAPCA is in their sixth year of the grant. The primary purpose of the DFC program is to: strengthen collaboration among community entities; and reduce substance use among youth.

Attendees learned innovative ways to talk to youth and adults about the dangers of marijuana use through Public Policy Consultant for CADCA, Sue Thau's presentation, "Changing the Conversation About Marijuana." Kevin A. Sabet, Ph.D.

Director, Drug Policy Institute, University of Florida and

Co-Founder of Project SAM (Smart Approaches to Marijuana) described the seven myths about marijuana.


For information on these presentations, contact Noraine at noraine.buttar@alexandriava.gov.




Community of Concern Dinner at TC (2/6)

Minnie Howard ninth graders and their parents are invited to a Community of Concern Dinner on Thursday, February 6, from 6:15pm to 8:30pm in the cafeteria at T.C. Williams. The evening will be one of dialogue and education relating to underage drinking prevention.


Stay tuned for the invite letter!




The Alexandria Mentoring Partnership is hosting an information session for those interested in becoming a mentor.  Hear from mentors and youth and learn how a small amount of time per week makes a big impact. 


The session will be held at on Tuesday, January 28 at the Lyceum, 201 S. Washington St. Registration is from 6 to 6:30 p.m. and the session will start at 6:30 p.m. Refreshments will be served. RSVP to mentoring@alexandriava.gov.


ACAP Quarterly Meeting (1/30)

Please join the Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy on Thursday, January 30, 4-6pm at the T.C. Williams Rotunda (3330 King Street, 2nd floor above the cafeteria) as they review and finalize their action plan. 


Please RSVP to Lisette.torres@alexandriava.gov by Tuesday, January 28. 




Addiction treatment centers in Colorado are bracing for an increase in teens referred for marijuana use, ABC News reports. The state began legal sales of recreational marijuana for adults. While only people 21 and older are allowed to purchase marijuana, some experts are concerned the law will allow the drug to more easily fall into the hands of teens.


Dr. Christian Thurstone, who heads the teen rehabilitation center Adolescent STEP: Substance Abuse Treatment Education & Prevention Program, said 95 percent of patient referrals to the program are for marijuana use. In preparation for the new law, Dr. Thurstone has doubled his staff.


He told ABC News that marijuana can be harmful for some teens, particularly those suffering from mental illness. He said that after Colorado legalized medical marijuana in 2009, teens began to use much higher potency products.


Ben Court, an addictions expert at the University of Colorado Hospital Center for Dependency, Addiction and Rehabilitation, has also seen an increase in patients addicted to marijuana since the state approved medical marijuana. He says the younger people are when they start consistently using marijuana, the more likely they are to become addicted. "Most people are going to smoke weed and it's not going to be an issue. By 18 to 24, your odds are less than 1 in 10 that you're going to be addicted," he said. "If you start under 18, it's 1 in 6."


Cigarette graphic warning labels could reduce the number of smokers in the United States by as much as 8.6 million people, saving millions of lives, according to a new study.


The study looked at the effect of the labels on smokers in Canada, and found they resulted in a 2.9 to 4.7 percentage point drop in smoking rates between 2000 and 2009. In the United States, a similar decrease would result in between 5.3 million and 8.6 million fewer smokers, HealthDay reports.


The study was conducted by the International Tobacco Control Policy Evaluation Project, a collaboration of more than 100 tobacco-control researchers and experts from 22 countries.


Cigarette warning labels have been implemented in more than 40 countries, but not in the United States, the article notes.

In April, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected a challenge by the tobacco industry to a federal law requiring that cigarette packages carry graphic warning labels. Tobacco companies argued parts of the law violated their constitutional rights to free speech. The labels include graphic images of the consequences of smoking, including diseased lungs and rotting teeth. It could take years for the new warning labels to appear on cigarette packages.



States that have enacted more alcohol- and traffic-related laws have a lower proportion of traffic deaths, compared with states with fewer such laws, a new study indicates. Researchers say encouraging states to adopt more of these laws could significantly reduce preventable traffic-related deaths in the United States, especially among young people.


Researchers at New York University analyzed 27 types of state laws, including mandatory fines for DUI violations, beer taxes and child restraint laws. They examined the relationship between the proportion of the 27 laws that states adopted, and the number of deaths that resulted from traffic accidents. They found that being in the top 25 percent of laws passed was associated with a 14.5 percent decrease in traffic death rates, compared with being in the bottom 25 percent, according to News-Medical.net.





States with stronger alcohol control policies have lower rates of binge drinking than states with weaker policies, a new study concludes. Researchers gave scores to states based on how they implemented 29 alcohol control policies, HealthDay reports. States that had higher policy scores were one-fourth as likely to have a binge drinking rate in the top 25 percent of states, compared with states with lower scores. Binge drinking rates were 33 percent higher in states in the bottom quarter than those in the top quarter of policy scores.


States with larger increases in policies had larger decreases in binge drinking over time, the study found. Binge drinking is responsible for more than half of the 80,000 alcohol-related deaths in the United States annually, the article notes. It is generally defined as having more than four to five alcoholic drinks in a two-hour period.


While previous studies have investigated the effect of individual alcohol policies, the researchers said this is the first study to look at the effect of the overall alcohol policy environment.




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