October 2019 
Highlights & Annoucements
Alexandria Teens "Shock" Purchasers of Alcohol Through Project Sticker Shock

On Saturday, October 19, teams of youth and adults from Alexandria "shocked" purchasers of alcohol by placing bright warning stickers on multi-packs of beer and other alcohol products in Alexandria stores. The Sticker Shock campaign kicked off with a press conference at the Alexandria Department of Community and Human Services (DCHS), 720 N. St. Asaph Street.

Sticker Shock is a youth-led initiative designed to educate adults who might purchase alcohol legally and provide it to minors. 

T.C. William High School Junior Joshua Tantillo and SAPCA Youth Board Member Freshman Kate Harbour kicked off the press conference, sharing that adults will often legally purchase beer, wine coolers and other alcoholic beverages and turn around and illegally give or sell them to youth.
"We hope that when adults see the warning stickers we're going to place on beer and wine cooler packaging today, they will think twice and decide not to make the purchase," said Tantillo.
Speakers included  Alexandria Police Chief Michael Brown, Alexandria Sheriff Department Lieutenant Quentin Wade and SAPCA Chair Allen Lomax, sharing the importance of changing attitudes and reminding adults who are tempted to purchase alcohol for minors that there are serious legal consequences to providing beer, wine, and other alcohol to anyone under 21. Colonel Reginald Geary of the T.C. Williams Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps program was also recognized at this event for this program's consistent participation with SAPCA in several initiatives, including Sticker Shock.

Following the press conference, teams of youth and adults traveled throughout the City to visit more than 60 participating retailers and affix the warning stickers. The stickers contain warnings about the serious penalties for furnishing alcohol to minors. In Virginia, it is a Class 1 misdemeanor, with a punishment of up to $2,500 and 12 months in jail. In addition to these penalties, a person found guilty will have his or her driver's license suspended.  Local retailers who participated in the campaign include Giant Food, Safeway, 7-11, CVS and a host of small grocery and convenience stores.  

Youth participants reported many positive results from their participation, including
  • Improving public speaking skills
  • Learning about an officer's job
  • Building teamwork
  • Creating change in their community
  • Receiving encouragement and support from retail and community members
  • Finding a sense of community
  • Having fun!
Research shows that it is easy for youth to obtain alcohol.  National polls report that youth ages 13 and older say it is easy to get alcohol from adults - sometimes from their own parents who themselves may have drinking problems. In a recent survey,  29 percent of Alexandria high school seniors reported that they drank alcohol in the past 30 days.  Thanks to all of our wonderful partners for making this event possible! 

VA Senator Tim Kaine Hosts Round Table To Address Youth
E-cigarette Use

O n Friday, October 18, SAPCA Coordinator 
Emma Beall  attended a round  table  discussion hosted by Virginia Senator Tim Kaine's Office to discuss e-cigarette use among youth. During this event, s tudents, teachers, counselors, advocates and parents shared  information about the work being done in their jurisdiction to address vaping and provided their unique perspectives about this topic.  Virginia Secretary of Education Atif Qarni also participated in this event. 

Youth in attendance highlighted that e-cigarettes are easily accessible and sold in convenience stores that many of them visit, advocating for an increase in the pricing of these products. They also shared how social media marketing and the presence of thousands of  youth-friendly flavors has influenced youth to use these products.

Emma discussed several steps SAPCA has taken to address e-cigarette use, 
  • Forming a vaping work group with Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) students to brainstorm ways to address vaping systemically.
  • Delivering classroom presentations and assemblies for middle and high school students at public and private schools
  • Presenting to students caught using substances at school as part of a collaborative program delivered in partnership with ACPS and the Court Services Unit
  • Distributing a coach's resource packet that provides information about substance use and abuse. The packet both educates and encourages coaches and other youth serving providers to discuss the dangers of these substances with their athletes. It also provides them with concrete ways to take action, including taking a clear stance on vaping and ensuring students they work with know using these substances is not allowed.
  • Discussing e-cigarettes with the Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA) in spring 2019.

Click here for additional information about feedback shared by students during this event.
October Drug Take Back Day Recap

During our last Drug Take Back Day 
on  Saturday, October 26, 
Alexandria  collected 230 lbs  of  unused and expired medication! So far in 2019, a total of 1,671 lbs  of medication have been collected during take back day events hosted in the City of Alexandria and through our permanent drop boxes. 
Thank you to everyone who volunteered for this event and came out to drop off medication. Our next drug take back day will occur in January 2020. 

Couldn't make it to this  event?   Alexandria's  second and   
newest  permanent medication drop box is  housed at Inova Alexandria Hospital (4320 Seminary Road).  This drop box is located in   the visitor's lobby next to the cashi er's window. Medication can be dropped off here between  5 a.m. and 9 p.m.

Another permanent drop box is located at the Neighborhood Pharmacy of Del Ray (2204 Mt.
 Vernon Ave). Medication can be dropped off at this location during the following hours:
  • Monday - Friday: 9 a.m. - 7 p.m.
  • Saturday: 9 a.m. - 2 p.m.
  • Sunday: 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
Interested in volunteering at our next Drug Take Back Day? Contact Emma Beall at   emma.beall@alexandriava.gov

Raising Awareness Through Red Ribbon Week

Each year, SAPCA joins our community in celebrating Red Ribbon Week from October 23-31. Red Ribbon Week is  the oldest and largest drug prevention program and is  an ideal way for people and communities to unite and take a visible stand against drugs. This year's theme is "Send a message . Stay drug free."

This year, SAPCA participated in Red Ribbon Week by:
  • Tabling at Minnie Howard an
    d T.C. Williams with Inova Alexandria Hospital, the Drug Enforcement Agency and Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) staff  to remind students to stay drug-free. 
  • Presenting about e-cigarettes and vaping to over 200 cadets in the T.C. Williams Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps program.
  • Supporting elementary school Youth Development Counselors at Patrick Henry, William Ramsay and Samuel Tucker to conduct activities with their students.
  • Assisting in the development of community circles delivered to nearly 10,000 ACPS elementary, middle and high school. During these circles, students learned about Red Ribbon Week, discussed the dangers of e-cigarettes, and  pledged to grow up safe, healthy and drug free. 
    • Of students that completed an evaluation survey for this activity, 88% strongly agreed or agreed with the statement "If asked to try alcohol or drugs, including e-cigarettes, I would be comfortable saying no," while 90% strongly agreed or agreed with the statement "Using alcohol or drugs, including e-cigarettes, is harmful to my health." 

Thanks to everyone who helped make these events a huge success!
#FactOfTheMonth: E-cigarettes Explained

Each month, SAPCA highlights one key fact about substance use.  This month we provide an overview of information  about e-cigarettes.

E-cigarette is an umbrella term for a variety of devices that are produce an aerosol users inhale. These devices come in a wide range of shapes and sizes, are typically battery-powered and are referred to by many names, such as e-cigs, e-hookahs, electronic nicotine delivery systems (ENDS), JUULs, mods, tank systems, vapes and vape pens.

Many e-cigarettes contain nicotine, the addictive substance found in combustible tobacco cigarettes. This includes products labeled as "nicotine-free," due to a lack of regulation by the FDA. For example, one JUUL pod contains as much nicotine as an entire pack of cigarettes. Additionally, there have been numerous cases of individuals using these products with THC, the psychoactive, addictive chemical in marijuana. Using e-cigarettes with marijuana is sometimes referred to as "dabbing."

The teen brain is especially vulnerable to tobacco addition between the ages of 18-25. If teens are exposed to nicotine while brain is still developing, they are more likely to develop an addiction.

Electronic Cigarettes and Vaping
Electronic Cigarettes and Vaping

What parents and caregivers can do:
  • Talk to your child about the risks of e-cigarette use.
  • Make your values clear: express your expectation that your children remain drug-free.
  • Emphasize local data: most teens in Alexandria are not using e-cigarettes. From 2016-2017, 7.5% of 10th and 6.0% of 8th graders reported using e-cigarettes in the past 30 days. 
  • Encourage youth to educate themselves using credible sources in order to make informed choices
  • Clarify misconceptions. The term "vaping" is commonly used informally to refer to e-cigarette use. However, many youth and adults do not recognize that e-cigarette use and vaping are the same. Help make the connection that vaping is the same as e-cigarette use.
To learn more about e-cigarettes, click here.

Have an idea for our next #FactOfTheMonth ? Email Emma Beall at  emma.beall@alexandriava.gov
Update: Outbreak of Lung Injury Associated with E-Cigarette Use, or Vaping, Grows

The number of vaping-related injuries continues to increase. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a s of October 24, 2019 there  have been 1,604 cases of lung injury in 49 states, the District of Columbia, and 1 U.S. territory. There have been 34 deaths confirmed in 24 states associated with e-cigarette or vaping products in the U.S. 

As of October 11, 2019, in Virginia there have been 50 cases and one death. Eighteen of the cases were reported in the Northern Health Region, which includes Alexandria, Arlington, Fairfax, Loudon and Prince William.

All reported cases have a history of e-cigarette product use or vaping.  Based on initial data from certain states: 
  • Most patients have reported a history of using e-cigarette products containing THC.
  • Many patients have reported using THC and nicotine. 
  • Some have reported the use of e-cigarette products containing only nicotine.
Individuals with a history of vaping who are experiencing breathing problems should seek medical care right away.Visit  www.cdc.gov/tobacco/basic_information/e-cigarettes/severe-lung-disease.html    to learn more about vaping-related illnesses.
Application for Community Engagement Microgrants Now Open 

The City of Alexandria is now soliciting for Fiscal Year 2020 Mircogrants that w ill offer up to $1,000 per grantee. This is a nonmatching grant. 

Microgrants are available to artist(s) and community organizations for new or existing projects and/or programs that are free, open to the public, and benefit City of Alexandria residents. Applications will support community representation and cultural respect, encourage diversity and/or enhance under-served communities, neighborhoods, or populations of the City of Alexandria. Projects need to take place between January 1, 2020 through June 30, 2020.

Grants must be submitted by Wednesday, November 27, 2019. 

This is an ideal grant for artists who work with youth, young adults, families or seniors. More information can be found here.
Counter Tobacco Hosting 8th Annual Photo Contest

Counter Tobacco is excited to announce the dates for the 8th Annual Photo Contest! This contest showcases what's happening in the tobacco retail environment all across the country. These images are crucial to educating the public and furthering the success of state and local tobacco control efforts that seek to reduce tobacco industry activity at the point of sale.

October 7th through November 4th, Counter Tobacco is calling on you to submit photos reflecting tobacco industry marketing tactics in the retail environments for the chance to win some sweet CounterTobacco.org swag. In the meantime, get some inspiration from last year's winners.

Enter the 2019 Congressional App Competition

The 2019 Congressional App Competition (CAC) has officially launched, supported by large tech companies such as Amazon Web Services and Microsoft. 

Students, both high-school and middle-school level, may participate as individuals or in teams of up to four and winners may be eligible to have their app featured in the Capitol Building. Participating students can either reside or attend school in VA-08. Students can confirm residency by clicking here. The deadline to submit apps is November 1, 2019 at 12:00 p.m.

Students interested must register by clicking here.
2019-2020 PTA Reflections Art Contest
T.C. Williams and Minnie Howard students, look within. What do you see? What do you feel? Show it through your art in this year's PTA Reflections Art Contest, "Look Within." Enter as many times as you wish, and in as many categories as you wish. Entry forms and copies of the Reflections rules can be found in the Reflections bins in the Library/Media Centers, or at Reflections Information.
Place your entries in the Library/Media Center.
Reflections Submissions are due by Friday, November 2, 2019 at 3:30 pm in the bins in the Library/Media Centers. Any questions? Please email Luisa Tio at  luisastio@earthlink.net or text 703-599-7923.Place article copy here. Be sure to make the articles short and concise as people tend not to read much more than a couple of paragraphs.
Upcoming Community Events
Join the KeepIt360 Club! 

It's that time of year - the first KeepIt360 club meeting will be held on Wednesday, November 6 at T.C. Williams High School in Room C210 from 3:30 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.  This club is sponsored by SAPCA and the Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy. Join us for snacks and activities as we kick-off the year. Can't wait to see you there!

Save the Date: Community Parent Support Groups 

The Community Parent Support Group is a safe and supportive meeting place for parents to ask questions, get answers, and discuss topics related to youth and families. This free program will be offered in English and Spanish f rom 7:00 - 8:30 p.m. at the following sites:
November 21, 2019:  Charles Houston Recreation Center
December 19, 2019:  Charles Houston Recreation Center
January 30, 2020:  Charles Houston Recreation Center
February 27, 2020:  Charles Houston Recreation Center
March 26, 2020:  Leonard "Chick" Armstrong Recreation Center
April 23, 2020:  Leonard "Chick" Armstrong Recreation Center
May 28, 2020: Charles Houston Recreation Center
For more information, contact Percy White at  percy.white@alexandriava.gov or visit  www.alexandriava.gov/GangPrevention

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
w ww.PreventItAlexandria.org