Substance Abuse Presentations Empower ACPS Students to Make Informed Choices
This spring, Alexandria City Public Schools (ACPS) collaborated with the Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria (SAPCA), the Teen Wellness Center and the ACPS athletics department to deliver more than 30 presentations to 1,700 middle school students at George Washington Middle School, Francis C. Hammond Middle School, Patrick Henry K-8 School and Jefferson Houston PreK-8 IB School. During SAPCA’s presentation, students learned about the health, legal and social consequences of using alcohol, e-cigarettes/vaping devices, marijuana and prescription and over-the-counter medication; the dangers associated with fentanyl and counterfeit (fake) pills; ways to respond to peer pressure; and healthy ways to cope with stress.
This presentation also featured several prevention videos — created by SAPCA in collaboration with the Alexandria City High School (ACHS) TV Production Program — that encourage students to be substance-free. These videos feature ACHS students sharing reasons they do not use alcohol, marijuana and e-cigarette/vaping devices. “While local data show that the majority of youth in Alexandria do not use any substances, it is important to begin talking to students about the dangers of substance use during the middle school years and continue having age-appropriate conversations during the high school years,” said SAPCA Chair Allen Lomax.
The Teen Wellness Center also shared information about free services available to teenagers, signs of an opioid overdose and how to respond to a suspected opioid overdose. Located within ACHS, the clinic is open year-round and provides a variety of health and confidential services to teens. In addition to receiving health education, counseling services and physical exams required for participation in sports, students can obtain Narcan and fentanyl test strips at the Teen Wellness Center.
Learn more about community resources and tips for families to support youth to be happy, healthy and substance-free:
- SAPCA’s free text line — Text 30644 with non-urgent questions about alcohol or other drugs, peer pressure, healthy coping practices and ways to get involved in the community. Responses will be provided within 24 hours, Monday through Friday.
- SAPCA’s webpage — Get information about alcohol and other drugs, tips for discussing difficult topics with teens and details about upcoming events for youth and families.
- ACPS’ Substance Abuse Prevention & Educational Intervention webpage — Access multilingual presentations, fact sheets and other resources from the school division.
- Treatment services — Youth with mental health or substance use challenges can contact Child and Family Behavioral Health Services by calling 571-213-7963 or sending a message to DCHSYouthIntake@alexandriava.gov.
- Crisis Text Line — This free service offers 24/7 mental health support via text message in English and Spanish. Text HOME to 741-741 to connect with a crisis counselor or visit CrisisTextLine.org to chat with someone online or using WhatsApp.
SAPCA’s mission is to engage diverse sectors of the community in collaborative, cross-cultural and comprehensive substance abuse prevention efforts that result in a reduction of underage substance use and abuse in the City of Alexandria. Explore more tips for communicating with teens and ways to support youth to make healthy choices at alexandriava.gov/SAPCA.
- Substance Abuse and Prevention