May 10 - 16 is National Prevention Week, and the Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria (SAPCA) is working together with community members across the country to raise awareness of the importance of substance use prevention and positive mental health.
Sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the national and annual event recognizes the important work being done in communities year-round that promotes prevention through ideas, capacity building, tools and resources to help individuals and communities make substance use prevention happen every day.
SAPCA is promoting the event daily on their website, Facebook and Twitter as well as through daily posts for teens on Alexandria Teen Life’s Instagram and Twitter, platforms that provide information and resources to teens as part of a collaboration between the City’s Youth Development Team and the Sexual Assault Center.
Each day focuses on a different theme, including preventing prescription drug and opioid misuse, preventing underage drinking and alcohol misuse, preventing illicit drug use and youth marijuana use, preventing youth tobacco use and preventing suicide.
SAPCA Coordinator Emma Beall says residents and youth can get involved in the week-long event on social media by sharing how prevention is happening in their households or neighborhoods.
“That can take many forms,” adds Beall, who says prevention actions can range from virtual events and promotion of substance misuse awareness or information to family conversations and activities that model healthy coping practices like exercise, mindfulness and self-care.
Beall encourages residents to take a selfie and share how they are preventing substance misuse and promoting positive mental health, or why they choose to be substance-free, and tag @SAPCA_AlexVA on Twitter or @SAPCALexandria on Facebook to help spread these messages throughout the community.
“Local data shows that most youth in our community report not using or abusing substances,” says SAPCA Coordinator Emma Beall. “And that's a trend to get behind.”
SAPCA is an alliance of parents, youth, schools, city health and recreation agencies, media, nonprofits, businesses, policymakers and law enforcement with the mission to engage the community in collaborative, cross-cultural and comprehensive substance abuse prevention efforts to reduce underage substance use and abuse in the City of Alexandria. View or sign up for the coalition’s monthly newsletter to learn more about their ongoing events and initiatives.