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SAPCA Members,  
We've been celebrating National Drug Facts Week (NDFW)! It is an annual health observance week for teens to shatter the myths about drugs and drug abuse. NDFW centers on community events for teens, NIDA's Drug Facts Chat Day, and partnerships.  
SAPCA has celebrated by visiting the ROTC classes at T.C. Williams and carrying out Above the Influence activities. Check out our facebook page to see the students in action.
You can also follow an online chat between students all around the country and National Institute of Drug Abuse (NIDA) scientists during National Drug Facts Chat Day on January 30. Students from around the country ask the questions they most want the answers to about drugs and drug abuse, including drug effects, how to help friends or family that are abusing drugs, and what causes addiction. The NIDA expert scientists give them the facts.  



* Northern VA Marijuana Prevention Task Force Holds Legislative Breakfast
* wreckED at Jefferson-Houston
* Titan Takeover
* SAPCA to attend National Youth Leadership Forum (2/2 - 2/6)
* Alexandria Mentoring Partnership Recruitment (2/12)
* Youth Mental Health First Aid
* Marijuana Use in Colorado and Washington Exceeds National Average: Report
* Six Americans Die From Alcohol Poisoning Daily: CDC Report
* New Device, "E Joint" Brigns Together Marijuana and E-Cigarette


Northern VA Marijuana Prevention Task Force Holds Legislative Breakfast


The Northern Virginia Marijuana Prevention Task Force held a legislative breakfast in December where they presented facts about marijuana and engaged in a discussion with legislators about possible harms caused by decriminalization, legalization of medical marijuana and legalization of recreational marijuana. The legislators in attendance were: Senators Barker and Marsden and Delegates Bulova and Watts. The task force is composed of SAPCA and coalitions from Arlington, Fairfax and Prince William counties.


Currently, the task force is in discussion with legislators about upcoming marijuana bills. If you're interested in joining the advocacy work, contact Noraine at noraine.buttar@alexandriava.gov.



wreckED at Jefferson-Houston


Shelly Morgan, SAPCA's Vice-Chair and Noraine presented wreckED to over 100 students at Jefferson-Houston on December 10.  The Partnership at Drugfree.org's wreckED is a program that challenges teens to think more about their own and their friends' behavior regarding alcohol and other drugs, and to consider the consequences of getting involved. The program focuses on alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs. The teens asked a lot of questions about the difference between medical marijuana and recreational marijuana.


If you work with youth and would like to host a wreckED presentation, contact Noraine at noraine.buttar@alexandriava.gov.


Titan Takeover



SAPCA's Above the Influence Club partnered with the Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy's Keepit360 Club to host Titan Takeover Teen Night at the Durant Center on December 12.  Teen volunteers arrived early to set up for the night and welcomed their friends and peers to the event.  Teens enjoyed free food from Chipotle, a candy station, a photo booth, dancing, and lots of prizes and giveaways.  The two groups will continue to partner this year to host more Titan Takeovers in collaboration with a new partner. Stay tuned for details! 



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:
  • February 9 and 11, 2015, 4-8 p.m.

 Click here to register.




Marijuana use in all age groups in Colorado and Washington State, where recreational marijuana is legal, has exceeded the national average during the past year, according to a new report by the anti-legalization group Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM).


Marijuana use in both states rose significantly between 2011-2012 and 2012-2013, the group noted. The report also found the number of burn victims in Colorado from hash oil explosions has increased significantly since marijuana was legalized.


In the first half of 2014, at least 14 children between the ages of 3 and 7 were sent to the emergency room for unintentional marijuana ingestion, compared with an average of four children between 2008 and 2011, and eight children in 2013. A drug treatment chain in the Denver area has reported a 66 percent increase in teen marijuana abuse treatment between 2011 and 2014, SAM noted.


Reuters reports Colorado health officials this week announced a public education campaign designed to explain the dangers of marijuana-infused products.



Six Americans die from alcohol poisoning each day, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The death rate from alcohol poisoning is highest among men ages 45 to 54.

"Most previous studies have looked at college kids and young people, but the problem is bigger than that," Dr. Robert Brewer, who heads the alcohol program at the CDC, told The New York Times. "It was surprising that the number of deaths was so concentrated among middle-age adults."

An average of 2,221 people died of alcohol poisoning each year between 2010 and 2012, the report found. The CDC noted researchers changed how they track alcohol poisoning data in recent years, making it impossible to determine whether the death rate had risen.


Alcohol poisoning occurs when a person drinks large quantities of alcohol in a short period. "Very high levels of alcohol in the body can shut down critical areas of the brain that control breathing, heart rate, and body temperature, resulting in death," the report noted.


Binge drinking (having four or more drinks for women or five or more drinks for men in a short period of time) can lead to death from alcohol poisoning. About 38 million adults say they binge drink an average of four times a month.





A new device known as an "e-joint" brings together marijuana and an e-cigarette, The New York Times reports. A brand of e-joint, JuJu Joint, holds 100 milligrams of THC, the psychoactive ingredient in marijuana-twice as much as a traditional joint, the article notes. It is disposable and comes filled with 150 hits. The device produces no smoke and has no smell.


JuJu Joints were introduced in April in Washington state, where recreational and medical marijuana is legal. So far, 75,000 devices have been sold. The maker of the device says 500,000 more will be sold this year. The company plans to expand to Colorado and Oregon, where recreational marijuana is legal. It also plans to bring the device to Nevada, which has decriminalized marijuana.


JuJu Joints can only be purchased by adults 21 and older, but law enforcement agencies say they are concerned the devices are already being abused by teenagers.



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