February 2019 Newsletter
Highlights & Annoucements
From left to right: Emily Bentley, Dayana Bynum, SAPCA Board Member Kate Harbour, Yasmin Hassen, Princess Kargbo, Odalis Del Cid Reyes, Christine Dofour and Emma Beall.
Alexandria Youth Attend 29th Annual National Leadership Forum

Each February, the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America hosts the National Leadership Forum at National Harbor, a 4-day conference packed with multiple adult and youth-oriented opportunities to learn the latest strategies to fight substance abuse and hear from nationally-known experts and policymakers . This year, SAPCA Coordinator Emma Beall attended this event with six Alexandria youth. These students were able to increase their skills and knowledge by listening to plenary speakers and attending interactive workshops, including "Public Speaking: Let Your Voice Be Heard," "E-cigarette Use Among Youth and Young Adults" and "Co-occurring Disorders and Suicide Prevention." Alexandria's Opioid Response Coordinato r Emily Bentley also attended this event.
SAPCA Celebrates National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week

As part of National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week, SAPCA Coordinator Emma Beall visited two classes at Minnie Howard and T.C. on January 24, 2019 to discuss the coalition's underage drinking prevention strategies and to solicit youth feedback on the direction of future initiatives. Fredy Martinez, K-12 Substance Abuse Prevention &  Intervention Services Coordinator for ACPS also delivered a presentation about e-cigarette use. Students also participated in National Drugs and Alcohol Chat Day by viewing the annual live online chat that provides students across the country with the opportunity to ask scientists questions about drugs and drug misuse. To view the full transcript of the chat, please  click here.  

VA Governor Signs Tobacco 21 Bill 

On Thursday, February 21, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam signed a bill to raise the age to purchase tobacco to 21 in Virginia. This new law covers all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes and alternative nicotine products. For the past three years, the Alexandria City Council, based on SAPCA's recommendation, included an item in the City's legislative agenda that would raise the tobacco purchase age from 18 to 21. With this new law, Virginia joins six other states and over 400 cities and counties nationwide that have raised the age to purchase tobacco to 21.
Save the date: Kick Butts Day is March 20, 2019!

Each year, youth around the country mobilize to raise awareness about the problems of tobacco use through Kick Butts Day.  Join SAPCA at the Kick Butts Day press conference on Wednesday, March 20 at 3:30 p.m. at T.C. Williams High School. SAPCA will partner with other City programs to join the statewide efforts to educate every tobacco retailer in Alexandria. The event engages Alexandria youth and ensures that tobacco vendors are training staff and checking photo IDs for every tobacco sale.  More than 2,000 events are held nationwide. Kick Butts Day is an annual day of activism, sponsored by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, that empowers youth to take action against tobacco use. 
#FactOfTheMonth: Encouraging Independence

In early adolescence, young people become increasingly sensitive to perceived threats to their independence. For example, in a study of adolescents watching video clips of their mothers telling them how they "should" behave differently (by cleaning their room or being nice to their siblings), brain activity showed activation in regions of the brain associated with threat processing rather than regions associated with behavior medication. For some adolescents, threats to their autonomy may result in youth engaging in undesired behaviors to reassert authority. Part of healthy development is giving adolescents choices and opportunities for discovery to feel in control of their decisions and motivations. 

It's important to respect this desire for independence and encourage it. Effective prevention includes setting family expectations about substance use and having explicit conversations about what you value. It also includes allowing teens to make informed decisions for themselves. When speaking with your child, let them know the source of the information you are sharing and encourage them to do their own research; Discuss which sources you view as valid and ask them to share their own thoughts. You can also ask them to try and think of any sources that may be biased , such as a research study funded by a corporation selling the product being studied. 

Unsure where to start? Check out our website for resources to start the conversation!

Have an idea for our next #FactOfTheMonth ? Email Emma Beall at  emma.beall@alexandriava.gov

Historic First

On Thursday, February 21, SAPCA's Board of Directors and the Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy (ACAP) Leadership Council met to discuss projects they are working on together and potential future work to help Alexandria's youth be more healthy and successful. While SAPCA and ACAP work together on several projects a year, this is the first time the two leadership bodies have held a joint meeting. The discussion was very fruitful and similar future meetings will be held at least twice a year.
Teens Make Music Contest Announces Winners

Facing Addiction with NCADD has partnered with MusiCares® to support the ninth annual MusiCares Teens Make Music Contest. The contest challenged young people to create an original song and/or music video that celebrates life without alcohol or drugs, bringing attention to the real-life consequences of substance misuse. Click here to listen to music from the three winners.

The contest was open to 14 to 18-year-olds. Andrew McMains and David Bond received two tickets to the upcoming GRAMMY Awards® in Los Angeles, and were invited to attend the celebration gala afterward. The second and third place winners will get to see the Vans Warped Tour and enjoy other prizes.

Teenagers are considered the most susceptible demographic for developing substance use disorder. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), overdose rates for adolescents increased in 2015 by 3.7 percent. Death rates for drug overdoses among those aged 15-19 in 2015 were highest for opioids, specifically heroin.

Facing Addiction with NCADD is passionate about lifting up young voices in the fight against addiction. Substance use is often normalized in teen peer groups, with half of high school students using marijuana; two-thirds of students trying alcohol; and two in 10 students misusing prescription medicine.
Upcoming Community Events
Alexandria Health Department Hosts Film Screening

In recognition of Black History Month and National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the Alexandria Health Department is hosting a free screening and discussion of the film "Thicker Than Blood" on Thursday, February 28, at the Lee Center (1108 Jefferson St) at 6 p.m.  The film highlights the stigma and challenges of living with HIV today, while increasing awareness about the barriers faced by HIV+ and LGBTQ community members. 
Light refreshments will be served and free HIV testing will be available onsite (thanks to the efforts of our Getting to Zero team!). Facilitators will lead a discussion immediately following the movie. 
Click here  to view a PDF of this flyer.
College Night Virginia 2019

What are your goals for life after high school?

Are you on track to achieve those goals?
What can you do now to make sure you'll be a great college applicant?

9th and 10th grade families, please bring your questions and come to College Night Virginia on Wednesday, March 6 for an interactive presentation with experienced college and financial aid advisers. Learn how to navigate the college process and make college affordable for your family. Attendees will be entered into a $1,000 scholarship drawing.

Free refreshments will be provided at 6:00 p.m. in the cafeteria; the presentation and discussion session will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the auditorium.

Click here to register for this free event.

For more information, contact Abigail Osei at  abigail.osei@acps.k12.va.us

Upcoming Healthy Conversations Dinners

Believe it or not, it's time to talk.  Please join us at an upcoming Healthy Conversations event for an evening of guided conversations about healthy
decision-making and avoiding risky behaviors. 
Healthy Conversations is an interactive workshop held in the community that features intergenerational conversations  between teens and parents. The next Healthy Conversations Dinners will be held on the following dates:
  • March 14, 2019 at GW Middle School.
  • March 27, 2019 at Hammond Middle School. 
Dinner, childcare and interpretation are provided at these events.
Click here to view a PDF of this flyer.
Click here  t o view a PDF of this flyer.
Become a Virginia State Parks Youth Conversation Corps Crewmember!

Virginia State Parks Youth Conservation Corps (YCC) is a three-week residential program that provides young people the opportunity to work in state parks on field-based projects. YCC crewmembers are why the program exists. The program's goal is to create environmental stewards and future leaders through community engagement, physical labor and teamwork. The YCC experience is unique and impossible to forget.

YCC 2019 Session Dates:
  • Session One: June 23 - July 13
  • Session Two: July 21 - Aug. 10
For a crewmember applicant to be considered, the application and both references must be received before March 4, 2019. To learn more, click here.

Alexandria Summer Camp Registration is Open!

Let's have a Summer of Smiles! Registration is now open for summer camps offered by the City. With 75 camp options, there's something for every interest for ages 2 to 17, including sports, creative arts, computers, nature, performing arts, excursions, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math), Camp Adventure, Out of School Time and classic camps.   For more information, visit alexandriava.gov/Recreation
Register for Alexandria Archaeology Summer Camp

July 15 - 19, 2019 -- 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Who: Children ages 12 - 15

What:  Help City archaeologists excavate a real archaeological site and preserve Alexandria's historic resources! Campers will learn professional excavating, recording, and artifact processing methods at the Shuter's Hill archaeology site. 

How: Applications must be submitted through www.alexandriaarchaeology.org . Registration is limited, and all applications are processed on a first come, first served basis. The week-long camp is $400 with available scholarships.  Payment can be made online at  The Alexandria Shop . Refunds cannot be made after June 1, 2019.

For more information and to register, please visit  www.alexandriaarchaeology.org .
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
emma.beall @alexandriava.gov