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SAPCA Members,  


You are invited to attend SAPCA's annual retreat on Thursday, May 17, 4-8pm, at 720 N. Saint Asaph St. Help us develop our strategy for SAPCA's future activities! Contact me at if you would like to attend. 






* Francis Hammond Hosts COC Dinner (4/17)
* SAPCA Celebrates Alcohol Awareness Month with Fun Games at TC Williams
* SAPCA Presents WreckED to Seniors at TC Williams (4/27)
* Fourth Prescription Drug Take Back Day a Success (4/28)
* SAPCA's Upcoming Meetings
* Raise Awareness About the Environmental Impact of Cigarettes
* SAPCA to Present Preventing Risky Behaviors Workshop to Urban League Mentors (5/19)
* Peers Influence Peers XVIII: Fine Lines (5/17)
* Survey: Prescription Painkiller Abuse Often Starts With Free Pills From Friends, Family
* New Substance Abuse Prevention Website
* Substance Use More Highly Stigmatized Than Smoking or Obesity, Study Suggests


Francis Hammond Hosts COC Dinner (4/17) 


Francis Hammond COC Dinner

Over fifty engaged parents and students attended the Community of Concern dinner at Francis Hammond Middle School. Attendees listened to a presentation on the effects of alcohol on the growing teen brain. Then they discussed scenarios such as, Parents, what do you do if your child is invited to a party where there may be underage drinking? Students, what do you want your parents to say to you in that situation? One parent commented, "I learned how I can be a better listener to my daughter."

SAPCA Celebrates Alcohol Awareness Month with Fun Games at TC Williams 


Alcohol Awareness Week Activties

SAPCA members invited TC students to spin the prize wheel at lunch times during the last week of April. In order to win a prize, students had to answer questions such as, "At what age is the human brain fully developed?" The answer is age 25! Over 400 students visited the table and learned about the dangers of underage drinking.

SAPCA Presents WreckED to Seniors at TC Williams (4/27) 
Shelly Morgan, SAPCA Vice-Chair, and Noraine presented The Partnership at's wreckED, 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 senior class at TC Williams attended the assembly.


If you work with youth and would like to host a wreckED presentation, contact Noraine at


The Alexandria Police Department and the Alexandria Sheriff's Office, in partnership with SAPCA, collected 227 pounds of potentially dangerous expired, unused and unwanted prescription drugs for destruction at the fourth National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 28, 2012, from 10am to 2pm.


Over 5000 collections sites nationwide participated in the fourth take back day program and over 3,150 pounds were collected in the Northern Virginia area alone.  In Alexandria, residents dropped off unused prescription medications at three drop sites in the City: Police Headquarters, the George Washington Masonic Memorial and the Del Ray Pharmacy. The service was free and anonymous. 


Rates of prescription drug abuse in the United States are increasing at alarming rates, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs. Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. 

SAPCA's Upcoming Meetings

Annual Retreat (5/17) 

Thursday, May 17, 4:00-8:00pm, 720 North Saint Asaph St.


Raise Awareness About the Environmental Impact of Cigarettes


According to new research conducted by Legacy´┐Ż, more than half of the Americans surveyed last month did not know that cigarette butts are the No. 1 littered item every year on U.S. roadways and beaches.


According to the tobacco industry-funded annual report, The Tax Burden on Tobacco 2011, 287 billion cigarettes were sold last year. Where did all those cigarette butts go? When you step over them on the streets where you live and work and at beaches and parks you enjoy, remember that cigarette butts are a potentially dangerous and costly burden. Help bring awareness to this issue and start changing social norms around littering cigarette butts.


The Marine Debris Tracker mobile application allows you to help make a difference by checking in when you find trash on our coastlines and waterways.


For more information, visit:


SAPCA to Present Preventing Risky Behaviors Workshop to Urban League Mentors (5/19)

Shelly and Noraine  will present, "It's Never Too Late and Never Too Early to Talk to Your Kids" to new mentors of the Project Ready Mentor program at the Northern Virginia Urban League. The workshop will take place on Saturday May 19, 10 to 11am.


Peers Influence Peers XVIII: Fine Lines  (5/17)


Peers Influence Peers XVIII: Fine Lines is an hour-long program that fuses documentary material with an original screenplay that addresses the potentially dangerous misuse of prescription drugs and through a unique twist in the story brings awareness to the issue of autism in teens. It's a program produced by youth for a youth audience. This dramatic presentation doesn't pretend to solve these concerns of youth just exposes them. It does not provide answers; it poses the questions and presents the issues. "Fine Lines" provides talking points for discussion in the classroom.


This on-line program will take place on May 17 from 1 to 2pm. Click here to register.



A new national survey finds people who abuse prescription painkillers for the first time often get their pills for free from family or friends.  An analysis of data from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, scheduled to be released on Wednesday, found more than two-thirds of those who said they had gotten high on painkillers for the first time in the past year received the pills from family or friends.


The survey estimates 2.4 million Americans start abusing prescription drugs annually. About one-third of new users are adolescents, according to the newspaper. Two-thirds of people who used painkillers to get high less than once a week got pills for free, or stole them from a relative or friend, the survey found.  


The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime launched a new website as part of an initiative aimed towards empowering and connecting youth to become active in their schools, communities and peer groups. The aim of the website is to provide youth with resources to make better decisions and prevent substance abuse worldwide. Click here to check out the new site.


People who abuse substances are more likely to be stigmatized than those who smoke or are obese, a new study suggests.

The study of 161 adults presented participants with six fictitious scenarios about people who either abused substances, smoked or were obese, according to HealthDay. "Specifically, participants rated their willingness for the individual in the fictitious scenario to marry into their family, be friends, socialize, work on a job, be a neighbor, and have one's child date," study author Lindsay Phillips of Albright College in Reading, Pennsylvania, said in a college news release.


She found people who were actively using substances were the most highly stigmatized group. The study found even people who formerly abused substances still face high levels of stigma. Phillips said this was troubling, because previous research has suggested stigma can discourage people from seeking help for substance abuse, and make them believe they cannot change their ways.


Noraine Buttar, MPH
720 North Saint Asaph Street
Alexandria, VA 22314
703-746-3670 (office)
703-887-8812 (mobile)