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SAPCA Members, 



You are invited to attend a free Alcohol and Drug Recovery Month Celebration on Wednesday September 12, 5-8 p.m. at the Lee Center, 1108 Jefferson St. There will be live music, barbecue, information and resources about prevention, recovery, supporting someone in recovery or helping someone enter recovery and much more! 





* National Night Out (8/7)
* Youth Boot Camp (8/30-31)
* SAPCA's Upcoming Meetings
* Help Get Capital One to Pull Helium Huffing Commercial
* CASA Family Day (9/24)
* Prescription Drug Take Back Day (9/29)
* Celebrate the Power of Prevention at National Above the Influence Day During National Substance Abuse Prevention Month (10/18)
* METWC's 5th Annual Back-2-School Slam Jam Explosion (9/22)
* Creating and Sustaining True Youth-Driven Programs - Using a Statwide Youth Council (9/13)
* Creating a Coalition Identity (9/27)
* Debunking Marijuana Myths (10/25)
* Teen Marijuana Use Linked with Lower Adult IQ Scores
* Youth Less Likely to Try Alcohol and Cigarettes Before Age 13 Now Than 20 years Ago
* Patterns in Adolescent Brains Could Predict Heavy Alcohol Use
* National Survey Outlines Drug Use In Schools


National Night Out (8/7)


SAPCA partnered with the Gang Prevention Task Force and the Office of Citizens Assistance to celebrate National Night Out on August 7. The special celebration is part of a nationwide crime and drug prevention effort sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch. SAPCA members and their partners talked to hundreds of community members, in over thirty neighborhoods, about substance abuse prevention, gang prevention, and other resources offered by the City.

Youth Boot Camp (8/30 - 31)



Youth Boot Camp in August
C.A.M. Gerlach explains how to sell your message


On August 30 and 31, Alexandria teens involved with the Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy,SAPCA, the DCHS Peer Advisors Program and the Teen Wellness Center came together for a leadership boot camp. The teens participated in workshops that focused on developing and communicating a message to peers and adults, interviewing with the media, and increasing participation through recruitment and leadership.


Guest speakers representing local non-profit organizations and media groups led the workshops. Each teen group developed an action plan for the school year and had the opportunity to discuss opportunities for collaboration with the others. The teens had a lot of fun as they pushed themselves to try new things, including interviewing on camera. They ended the summer with excitement and momentum to start the school year just a few days later.      

SAPCA's Upcoming Meetings

Quarterly Meeting


Monday, September 17, 7-8:30 p.m., TC Williams Rotunda, 3330 King St.


Board Meeting 


Tuesday, September 26, 6-7:30 p.m., 720 North Saint Asaph St.


Cultural Competence Training 


Tuesday, October 9, 6-7 p.m., 720 North Saint Asaph St.


Help Get Capital One to Pull Helium Huffing  Commercial 
Capital One is taking its Visigoth characters from the third century to the 21st century with its airing of a commercial featuring intentional helium huffing. And the practice shouldn't be funny in either century, according to the National Inhalant Prevention Coalition (NIPC) who are saying, "enough with the huffing, already." The NIPC, based in Chattanooga, Tenn., has written to the financial services company based in McLean, Va. to ask them to pull the commercial. Harvey Weiss, NIPC's long-time coalition executive director, is asking other coalitions to contact the company, as well.

The "Spark" credit card commercial is airing on many different channels. You can view it online here.

Helium is an inert gas that displaces oxygen in the body and can cause disorientation, blackouts and even death. In Florida, nine people died huffing helium in 2010, according to the Florida Medical Examiners' Annual Report. 


In the past, the coalition has challenged other corporations for its irresponsible ads depicting huffing as a laughing matter such as Hallmark and the Mars Chocolate company. In both cases, Weiss said, the coalition received a personal letter apologizing for the commercials and the commercials were pulled.With the credit card commercial, there has been no indication by Capital One to stop airing the commercial. "Eventually, I received a response that the ad's intent was to be funny. Further, Capital One's director of public relations campaigns assured me that their advertising team is taking our concerns into consideration," Weiss said.

To help with NIPC's effort to educate and advocate for no more helium huffing commercials, contact Capital One financial services, and ask them to stop airing this Visigothian helium huffing ad. At Capital One, you can contact:


Tatiana Stead, Vice President, Corporate Communications:


Chris O'Neill, Director, Digital & Public Relations Campaigns:


Julie Rakes, Capital One Financial Corporation: 






Family Day - A Day to Eat Dinner with Your Children was launched in 2001 by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University. Family Day is a national movement that informs parents that the engagement fostered during frequent family dinners is an effective tool to help keep America's kids substance free. Family Day began as a grassroots initiative and has grown to become a nationwide celebration.


More than a decade of research by The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University has consistently found that the more often kids eat dinner with their families, the less likely they are to smoke, drink or use drugs.


In collaboration with the Community Services Board, SAPCA sends flyers promoting Family Day home with all elementary school children in the City. Take the time to eat dinner with the children in your lives and ask them about their day, their interests, and their goals.


SAPCA is partnering with local law enforcement for National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Saturday September 29,  from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Drop off locations are the Alexandria Police Department, 3600 Wheeler Avenue and the Del Ray Pharmacy, 2204 Mount Vernon Ave. Please plan to drop off your unused prescription drugs!

Celebrate the Power of Prevention at National "Above the Influence" Day during National Substance Abuse Prevention Month (10/18)


The White House Office of National Drug Control Policy is sponsoring the first National "Above the Influence" Day on October 18 to celebrate youth who avoid pressure to use drugs and alcohol. A toolkit and other free resources are available online.


This is an opportunity for youth and local youth-serving partners to demonstrate the power of staying above the negative influences that can lead to youth substance use. ATI Day will reinforce the central role that this youth-led campaign continues to play in substance abuse prevention on the local, state, and national levels. 


Stay tuned for details about how SAPCA will celebrate ATI Day!


METWC'S 5th Annual Back-2-School Slam Jam Explosion (9/22)


Mentoring Education Together with Children, Inc (METWC) is holding their annual back to school slam jam explosion on Saturday September 22 from 12 to 6 p.m. at William Ramsay Recreation Center, 5650 Sanger Ave. This event was postponed from August 11. The event will feature information tables, entertainment, face painting, and much more. Visit us at the SAPCA table!


METWC is an innovative program that is bridging the educational gap for children by promoting community and parent involvement.  They utilize community resources to implement programs and strategies to improve education and basic computer skills of low-moderate income youth ranging from ages six through 17.


Creating and Sustaining True Youth-Driven Programs - Using a Statewide Youth Council (9/13)


Adrienne Rollins, Oklahoma EUDL Coordinator, will look at the Oklahoma State Youth Council on underage drinking from its inception through implementing its current mission. The presenter will show you how to develop and maintain an effective Youth Council including actions the Oklahoma Youth Council is currently working toward.


This presentation will share the approach Oklahoma has used to ensure all State-driven underage drinking prevention projects are truly youth driven. You will learn different strategies to encourage youth-led programming. Specific methods used in working with youth in Oklahoma have increased the number of environmental prevention strategies being done at the community level.  


This webinar will take place on September 13 from 3 to 4:15 p.m. Register here

Creating a Coalition Identity (9/27)


During the hour-long CADCA TV program Creating a Coalition Identity, national experts will show you how to create a brand to help market your coalition.  See how both traditional and social media can help get the word out about your strategies and events, whether through traditional media outreach, leveraging partnerships, or a social media campaign. Also learn about creative vehicles for getting the word out about your coalition or initiative.  


This program will take place on September 27 from 1 to 2 p.m. Register here.

Debunking Marijuana Myths (10/25)


During the hour-long program, Debunking Marijuana Myths, science, prevention, and law enforcement experts will talk about some common myths and provide the facts. They will travel to Massachusetts where ballot initiatives have changed views about marijuana in the state and see how coalitions have united to get the facts out to the public.


Key concepts will include: learning how marijuana impacts brain development, hearing why prevention experts believe marijuana in a smoked form is not medicine and discussing the notion of taxing marijuana much like tobacco and alcohol.


This program will take place on October 25 from 1 to 2 p.m. Register here.



Teen Marijuana Use Linked with Lower Adult IQ Scores 


A recent report coming out of New Zealand suggests that individuals who were heavy marijuana users as adolescents had "consistently lower IQs" as adults than subjects that had either never used marijuana as teens, or who did not begin using the drug until later on in their adulthood.

Youth Less Likely to Try Alcohol and Cigarettes Before Age 13 Now Than 20 Years Ago;  Prevalence of Early Marijuana Initiation Has Not Changed   


The percentage of high school students who first tried alcohol or cigarettes before the age of 13 has declined considerably since 1991, with much of the decline occurring in the past decade, according to recently released data from the national Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS). In 1991, 33% of high school students reported drinking more than a few sips of alcohol before age 13, compared to 29% in 2007 and 21% in 2011. The percentage reporting smoking a whole cigarette for the first time before age 13 also declined, from 24% in 1991 to 10% in 2011.


Marijuana initiation before age 13, however, did not change significantly over the same period. While the decreases in early alcohol and cigarette use are encouraging, one in five students still try alcohol and one in ten try cigarettes before age 13.


Heavy drinking is known to affect an adolescents' developing brain, but certain patterns of brain activity may also help predict which teens are at risk of becoming problem drinkers, according to a study by researchers in the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine and VA San Diego Healthcare System. This study focused on 12 to 16-year-olds whose brains were scanned using special functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) prior to the onset of drinking, and then again three years later.  About half of this group transitioned into heavy drinking over the 3-year period.  However, when imaged before they began drinking, this cohort already showed less fMRI response in regions of the brain previously linked to heavy drinking.


National Survey Outlines Drug Use in Schools


An annual survey titled "National Survey of American Attitudes on Substance Abuse XVII: Teens" estimates 17% of American high school students say they drink, smoke or use drugs during the school day. Nine out of ten high school students, 86% of those surveyed, say they know which of their peers are abusing at school. 


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