What does SAPCA do?

 We use a variety of community-wide strategies to accomplish our mission of preventing underage substance use and abuse in Alexandria.  These include providing information about substance abuse and its risks; providing support to parents and students in confronting the challenges of substance abuse; building skills that prevent substance abuse; changing consequences for engaging in substance abuse or providing incentives not to engage in these risky behaviors; and changing the physical design to emphasize prevention.  Some of our recent activities have included:

  • Community Youth Mapping in which teams of youth and their adult supervisors surveyed businesses and organizations in the community to determine gaps in services and opportunities for youth.
  • Sticker Shock Campaign in which teams of youth and adults placed stickers on beer and alcohol products in stores, warning adults of the consequences of purchasing these products for minors.
  • Town hall meetings and Recovery Month events in which speakers highlight the risks of underage alcohol and substance abuse.
  • Communities of Concern meetings at Alexandria’s middle and high schools, which provide a forum for parents to talk freely with one another about the challenges they face in keeping their children drug- and alcohol-free.
  • Prom Pledge, signed by high school students attending the annual prom, in which the students promised to remain drug- and alcohol-free.  The pledge outlined the consequences for students caught drinking of using drugs at the prom event.
  • Beach Week booklet, for parents and students, which provides guidelines for having a happy healthy Beach Week, without alcohol, drugs and other risky behaviors.
  • Presentations to community groups, parents and students about the risks of underage substance abuse.
  • Webinars and other training programs on preventing risky behavior, including substance abuse.
  • Policy initiatives, such as the 2011 change to the Virginia Social Host Law, spearheaded by SAPCA, which increased parental liability for providing alcohol to minors.
  • Quarterly meetings in which SAPCA keeps the community aware of its activities.
  • Media relations that has resulted in op eds, letters to the editor and advertisements related to SAPCA’s mission and activities.
  • Partnerships with other Alexandria organizations focused on the City’s youth:  Alexandria Campaign on Adolescent Pregnancy (ACAP), Alexandria Gang Prevention, JobLink, Alexandria school PTSAs, Alexandria Police Department, Alexandria Sheriff’s Office, Building Better Futures, Northern Virginia Urban League, Alexandria Department of Community and Human Services and the Alexandria Department of Recreation, Parks and Cultural Activities.