August 2018 Newsletter
Highlights & Annoucements
SAPCA and SAFE Project U.S. Host July Drug Take Back Day

This month's drug take back day was a complete success!  Thank you to all the volunteers and City partners who helped make everything run smoothly and to everyone who came to drop off their old or unwanted prescription drugs. Because of you, over  200 pounds of unused or expired medication were collected.

SAPCA hosted this event with SAFE Project U.S. (Stop the Addition Fatality Epidemic), an organization established to reverse the opioid epidemic.  Admiral Winnefeld and his wife, Mary Winnefeld, who founded SAFE after their son Jonathan died due to overdose, joined Mayor Allison Silberberg and Sheriff Dana Lawhorne to discuss the importance of holding these events. 

"As a family who lives in Northern Virginia, we have a vested interest in the safety of the Alexandria community.  As parents who lost our youngest son to the opioid epidemic, we are doing everything we can to share what we've learned in the hope our friends and neighbors won't know pain like ours."

Mayor Silberberg thanked the community for their participation in this event, highlighting the growing need for drug take back days as the opioid crisis in Alexandria grows. In 2017 alone, there were more than 50 overdoses reported in the City. Over 50% of those who abuse prescription drugs access them from a friend or relative; by disposing of unused or expired drugs, individuals and families can help prevent medication abuse and overdose in the City. 

If you missed this event, don't worry! There is a permanent medication drop box located at the Neighborhood Pharmacy of Del Ray that is open the following times: 

  • Monday - Friday: 9am-7pm
  • Saturday: 9am-2pm
  • Sunday; 10am-1pm

Additionally, SAPCA holds four drug take back days throughout the year, so the next one will be rolling around soon! 

Thank you, Alexandria, for doing your part to help fight the opioid epidemic!

Alexandria Hosts 5th Annual Youth Leadership Conference

Over 50 students attended the 5th annual Youth Leadership Conference hosted by the Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy (ACAP) and SAPCA August 13-15.This free event for rising 9th - 12th graders trains young leaders and connects them with opportunities to become more civically engaged in the Alexandria community. Workshops presented included "Finding Your Voice," "Intro to Local Government," and "Leaders in Action." For the first time, this conference was hosted and facilitated by ACAP's six Youth Peer Educators. On the last day of the conference, community and non-profit leaders, elected officials and representatives from several local boards and commissions attended a networking fair with conference participants to provide information about positions for youth in the City. 

Volunteer Spotlight: National Night Out

On Tuesday, August 7th, communities across the country came together to celebrate National Night Out! This event aims to prevent crime by building a sense of community. During this event, volunteers representing ACAP, the Gang Prevention Task Force and SAPCA were connected with over thirty communities, "covering the City" with messages about our work. Thanks to the help of several teams of volunteers, SAPCA and its partners shared information about gang prevention, the opioid epidemic, the 2018 Youth Leadership Conference and resources for teens. Volunteers also spread the word about the permanent drug drop box located at the Neighborhood Pharmacy of Del Ray. Thank you so much to everyone who volunteered with SAPCA and its partners!

Across the country, reports show that teen alcohol use is down. Nationwide, only a quarter of high school seniors reported drinking alcohol, and in Alexandria that number is lower. The 2016 Youth Risk Behavior Survey reports that underage drinking in Alexandria has gone down 11%, a trend to get behind. Underage drinking, especially among high school students, can be very dangerous as it permanently affects brain health. Alexandrians can help keep teen alcohol use down by:
  • Always checking IDs at bars, restaurants and stores 
  • Setting family expectations about alcohol use
  • Providing teens with safe and substance-free spaces to have fun!
Health Department Hosts Community Health Meeting  

On July 26th, the Alexandria Health Department hosted a community health meeting at the Durant Center where c ommunity members came together to discuss improving the overall health of Alexandria. This event encouraged public involvement in reporting and understanding community health needs.  Health department staff shared information about an exciting strategy called PhotoVoice to engage Alexandria residents and visitors in data collection for the community health assessment. Individuals were asked to submit pictures of what they love about Alexandria and what they think could use some work. Pictures shared with the Health Department, as well as accompanying captions, were shared on the Instagram account AlexHealthMatters, and will be presented at a community meeting held on Saturday, November 3rd, from 9:30 am - 11:30 am. Breakfast will be served at 9:00 am and the location will be announced soon!
KAT Campers Enjoy Family Picnic

To celebrate a successful summer of KAT camp, campers, parents, and camp leaders came together to eat delicious food and have fun on July 31st. KAT Camp is a summer program that takes place at ten local community recreation centers. Teen leaders provide educational sessions on alcohol and tobacco prevention, negative peer pressure reversal, anger management and nutrition promotion to eight-12 year olds. The picnic featured a moon bounce, popcorn machine, and snow cone maker, along with pizza and Chick-fil-A sandwiches. Campers got to run around, have fun with family and friends, and celebrate a summer well spent. A big thanks goes to the City of Alexandria's Youth Development Team for putting this event together!

Each month, SAPCA will be highlighting one key fact about substance 
use. This month we will be discussing the JUUL. Unfamilar with this term? Read all about it below!

JUUL is a brand of e-cigarette commonly used by young people. It has become so popular that the brand name has become a popular synonym for vaping: 'JUULing'. This brand markets itself with flavors such as bubble gum and cotton candy, whi ch appeal to youth. Each refill or 'pod' contains as much nicotine as a pack of cigarettes. JUUL claims the e-cigarettes are marketed only for use by individuals trying to quit smoking. Despite this claim, 16% of high school seniors reported using e-cigarettes.

Recently JUUL's name has made headlines. Parents and users have sued JUUL for misleading advertising, finding the JUUL pods contained more nicotine than they claimed. Many have also sued JUUL in the wake of some young people becoming addicted to JUULs. The attorney general of Massachusetts has opened an investigation into JUUL's advertising techniques, which seem to be purposely aimed at kids. It is important that parents and youth educate themselves on the real dangers of e-cigarettes and understand that they are not harmless.

Have an idea for our next #FactOfTheMonth ? Email Emma Beall at
Upcoming Community Events

Mark your calendar for a Recovery Celebration!
  • What: Recovery Month aims to increase awareness and understanding of mental and substance use disorders and celebrate the people who recover.
  • This year's theme is Invest in Health, Home, Purpose, and Community
  • When: Wednesday, September 26, from 4:00 pm to 7:00 pm
  • Where: Lee Center - 1108 Jefferson Street

Stay tuned for more details!
Save the date for this year's Project Sticker Shock!

Mark your calendar for October 20, 2018! During Project Sticker Shock, 
teams of youth and adults visit stores in Alexandria to place "warning" stickers on multi-packs of beer, wine coolers and other alcoholic products, highlighting the penalties for furnishing alcohol to minors.  

We look forward to seeing you there!

The Alexandria Library and the For Love of Country Foundation are sponsoring their Annual Essay and Poetry contest " For Love of Country: In My Own Words."  This year's theme is "You're Eighteen, And Your Friends Say They Don't Want To Vote. What Do You Say?" This contest is an exciting opportunity for rising 7th, 8th, and 9th graders to display their writing talents, broadcast their ideas, and win up to $100!  Entries are due by September 8th, 2018 by 5pm. 

  Click here to enter now!

Interested in getting involved with SAPCA?
Contact Us:
Emma Beall, SAPCA Coordinator
Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria 
123 N Pitt St, Suite 225
Alexandria, VA 22314
O: 703.746.3670 
C: 571.302.1022