May 2023


Project Sticker Shock Campaign Highlights Consequences of Providing Alcohol to Youth

On Saturday, April 22, teams of youth and adults "shocked" local shoppers by hosting the Project Sticker Shock Campaign. Keep It 360 Peer Advocates Chloe Yokitis and Andrea Funes Quinones kicked-off this youth-led event with a press conference featuring guest speakers Mayor Justin Wilson, Police Chief Don Hayes, Sheriff Sean Casey, SAPCA Chair Allen Lomax and Cadet Abigail Delgado, Battalion Commander for the Alexandria City High School (ACHS) U.S. Army Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps (JROTC) program.

Following this press conference, teams of youth and adults visited 57 Alexandria retailers to place place warning stickers on multi-packs of alcohol to highlight the legal consequences of providing alcohol to persons under 21. Retailers who participated in the campaign include Giant Food, Safeway, 7-Eleven, and a host of small grocery and convenience stores.  All participating retail stores received a certificate in recognition of their partnership to prevent underage alcohol access.

This campaign aims to reach community members ages 21 and older who may purchase alcohol legally and then illegally provide it to a person under age 21. In Virginia, it is a Class 1 misdemeanor to provide alcohol to a minor. It is also illegal for anyone to use a fake ID to purchase alcohol. Adults who provide alcohol to persons under age 21 can face the following penalties upon conviction:

  • A $2,500 fine for each young person provided an alcoholic beverage
  • Up to 12 months in jail
  • Loss of driver’s license for up to 12 months.

This event was hosted by SAPCA in collaboration with the Alexandria Police Department; the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office; the Department of Community and Human Services; the Department of Recreation, Parks & Cultural Activities; and the ACHS U.S. Army JROTC program. SAPCA is appreciative of our partners for their help kicking off this important campaign and speaking up about the importance of preventing access to alcohol by underage youth.

The Keep It 360 Peer Advocates are a group of Alexandria youth who work closely with SAPCA, the Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy (ACAP), and the Alexandria Sexual Assault Center to support prevention and outreach efforts.

The JROTC program prepares high school students for responsible leadership roles while making them aware of their rights, responsibilities and privileges as American citizens. Core courses include Techniques of Communications, Leadership Lab, Map Reading, History, Citizenship, Drug and Alcohol Abuse Prevention and Cadet Challenge.

To report concerns regarding the sale or provision of alcohol to persons under age 21, call the Alexandria Police Department’s non-emergency number at 703.746.4444 or file a report online to the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority.

Spring Medication Disposal Recap

With the support of multiple efforts to prevent and end medication misuse and abuse, the City of Alexandria collected and safely disposed of 535 lbs. of unused, expired and unwanted prescription and over-the-counter medication. Medication was collected during the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day event on April 22 and from the City of Alexandria's year-round permanent medication drop boxes. 

SAPCA thanks and recognizes our community partners for their efforts to dispose of unused and expired medication safely:

  • Alexandria Police Department
  • Alexandria Sheriff's Office
  • Neighborhood Pharmacy of Del Ray
  • Fire Station 210
  • Woodbine Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center
  • Alexandria Opioid Work Group
  • Alexandria Medical Reserve Corps

We are also thankful for the wonderful volunteers that supported outreach efforts during drug take back day. Please join us in recognizing Les Leinawaver, Suzette Manduley, Carrasco Noheli, and Louise Van Diepen for their help distributing free at home drug disposal kits and sharing resources about the importance of safe medication disposal during this event.

Needles are not accepted in the permanent medication drop boxes. Dispose of needles and syringes at a separate permanent drop box specifically for these items located inside the visitor's entrance at Inova Alexandria Hospital. The box is accessible at the same location and hours as the hospital’s drop off box for medications. 

Visit for more information about safe medicine disposal and to learn about Alexandria’s efforts regarding the opioid crisis.

City of Alexandria Recognizes Alcohol Awareness Month

Last month, SAPCA invited everyone in our community to join in recognizing and participating in Alcohol Awareness Month to raise awareness about the causes and effects of a substance use disorder. It takes a community to teach prevention -- check out some of the ways our community recognized this important awareness month:

  • Receiving a proclamation recognizing April as Alcohol Awareness Month at the April 11 City Council Meeting.
  • Delivering presentations to over 75 middle school students at Jefferson-Houston PreK - 8 IB School on April 12. Students learned about the health, legal and social consequences of using alcohol, e-cigarettes, cannabis, and prescription and over-the-counter medication; ways to respond to peer pressure; and healthy ways to cope with stress
  • Sharing information with families about the Developmental Assets, the supports and strengths that young people need to succeed, at the PTAC Spring Fling at William Ramsay Elementary School on April 15.
  • Visiting the Liberty's Promise after-school club on April 11 and April 27 to to share information about the facts and consequences of alcohol use, discuss healthy ways to cope with stress, and create self-care kits.
  • Distributing resources to youth and families at community cookouts on April 25 and April 27 with the help of volunteers Cole Ashcraft, Beth Mahar and Suzanne Dorick.
  • Hosting a Titan Takeover Teen Night on April 28 at William Ramsay Recreation Center in collaboration with the Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy (ACAP) and the Alexandria Sexual Assault Center. Over 40 Alexandria youth attended this safe and free event featuring a DJ, photo booth, dinner, gift card raffles, games, DIY self-care kit stations, and a Denim Day activity.

Together, we can ensure that youth in Alexandria have the information and tools to make informed choices about their health and future so they can thrive today, tomorrow and in the future. To learn about other ways to support local efforts to prevent youth substance use and misuse, contact Emma Beall at

Volunteers are the Heart of Alexandria Recognizes SAPCA Board Member

On April 20, Volunteer Alexandria recognized and honored

the work of SAPCA Board Member Kate Harbour, an ACHS Senior, through the presentation of the Youth Service Volunteer Award at the annual Volunteers are the Heart of Alexandria Celebration.

Through her time as a Board member, Kate has supported efforts to discourage youth alcohol use, provided numerous ideas about how to market vaping prevention messages to her peers, planned and implemented youth-focused events and initiatives and co-presented at meetings. Kate is also a member of the City of Alexandria's Children, Youth and Families Collaborative Commission, founded the Women in Film Club, and manages the ACHS Junior Varsity Wrestling Team.

Please join us in congratulating Kate for receiving this extraordinary honor and thanking her for the positive impact she has made for our community!

SAPCA Coordinator Highlights Youth Engagement Efforts

On April 20, SAPCA Coordinator Emma Beall presented at the 2023 Smart Approaches to Marijuana Summit & Good Drug Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. Through her presentation "Engaging Youth to Propel Prevention," Emma promoted the benefits of incorporating a positive youth development framework in youth substance use prevention efforts.

Specifically, Emma highlighted SAPCA's collaborative efforts with ACHS students to design and implement a media campaign encouraging youth to be marijuana free. This campaign, which features Alexandria youth sharing reasons why they do not use marijuana, reinforces and raise awareness that the majority of Alexandria’s youth do not use marijuana.

She also discussed SAPCA's efforts to provide youth with an opportunity to review and share input on local youth substance use data trends to collaboratively identify strategies to prevent and reduce youth substance use in our community. As a result of these efforts, over 300 middle and high school students provided their reactions to this information and shared strategies to prevent and reduce youth substance use in their community.

SAPCA looks forward to continuing to engage Alexandria youth in efforts to prevent youth substance use, misuse, and abuse in our community.

City of Alexandria Recognizes National Fentanyl Awareness Day

The City of Alexandria will join communities around the nation on May 9 to recognize National Fentanyl Awareness Day and raise awareness about the dangers of fentanyl. SAPCA reminds youth and adults of the serious dangers of fentanyl poisoning from counterfeit (fake) pills and other illicit drugs. 

Here is what you need to know about fentanyl:

  • Fentanyl is a very strong synthetic opioid that is tasteless and odorless. 
  • Fentanyl is 50 times stronger than heroin and 100 times stronger than morphine. 
  • Street drugs can be laced with fentanyl without the user's knowledge. These may include unregulated marijuana, vaping e-liquids, fake pills purchased online, and cocaine. 
  • It may only take a small amount of fentanyl, the equivalent to a few grains of salt, to cause an opioid overdose.
  • If given in time, Narcan (also known as Naloxone) can save the life of someone who is experiencing an opioid overdose.

Help spread the word in our community:

  • Looks are deceiving -- fake pills look real. 
  • If medication has not been prescribed to you, it runs the risk of being laced.
  • Only take medication prescribed by a doctor or purchased at a pharmacy.
  • Narcan is available for free from the Alexandria Health Department and the Teen Wellness Center.

Learn more about fentanyl and help raise awareness about the dangers of fentanyl by sharing these flyers for youth and adults, available in EnglishSpanishAmharic, and Arabic.

Fact of the Month: What is Xylazine?

Each month, SAPCA will be highlighting a key fact to support our community to prevent youth substance use. This month, we will be highlighting xylazine, an emerging threat to communities across the country. Xylazine, also known as “Tranq,” is a powerful sedative that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved for veterinary use. 

On April 12, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy released a press release announcing the official designation of fentanyl adulterated or associated with xylazine as an emerging threat to the United States. The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) also warned the American public of a sharp increase in the trafficking of fentanyl mixed with xylazine.

“Xylazine is making the deadliest drug threat our country has ever faced, fentanyl, even deadlier,” said DEA Administrator Anne Milgram. “DEA has seized xylazine and fentanyl mixtures in 48 of 50 States [including Virginia]. The DEA Laboratory System is reporting that in 2022 approximately 23% of fentanyl powder and 7% of fentanyl pills seized by the DEA contained xylazine.”

Xylazine and fentanyl drug mixtures increase the risk of fatal drug poisoning. Because xylazine is not an opioid, Narcan does not reverse its effects. Still, experts always recommend administering naloxone if someone might be suffering a drug poisoning.

For life-threatening situations, call 9-1-1 immediately. To share information regarding the illegal sale of opioids or other drugs, call the Alexandria Police Department at 703.746.6277

Gang Prevention Task Force Awards Student Scholarship

Last month, the Alexandria Gang Prevention Task Force presented a surprise scholarship of $598 to Khalil Coates, an ACHS Senior and City of Alexandria Peer Advisor. The scholarship was awarded in honor of Percy White, the former Alexandria Gang Prevention & Intervention Coordinator who passed away in January 2023.

As a member of the Gang Prevention Task Force, Khalil supports efforts to create a gang free community through collaboration, community outreach, and advocacy. He continues to be a leading voice at these meetings. Congratulations, Khalil!

The Peer Advisor Program supports students to mentor, tutor and support hundreds of elementary school students at nine community locations as part of the Kids are Terrific (KAT) summer camp program.

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Emma Beall, MPH
SAPCA Coordinator
O: 703.746.3670 
C: 571.302.1022

Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria 

4850 Mark Center Drive

Alexandria, VA 22311