Coalition Launches Video Series to Encourage Youth to Be Alcohol Free

Page updated on May 7, 2021 at 10:17 AM

Coalition Launches Video Series to Encourage Youth to Be Alcohol Free 

DCHS CONNECT FEATURE


SAPCA VideoMay 7, 2021--The Substance Abuse Prevention Coalition of Alexandria (SAPCA) has launched a prevention campaign featuring a series of short videos created by T.C. Williams High School students that encourage youth to be alcohol free.

The videos, which feature Alexandria youth sharing reasons why they do not drink alcohol, reinforces and raises awareness of the social norm that the majority of youth in Alexandria do not drink alcohol. Teen alcohol use in Alexandria decreased 52% between 2011 and 2019. According to the 2019 Developmental Assets Profile, only 8% of 8th graders, 13% of 10th graders and 29% of 12th graders drank alcohol in the past 30 days. 

SAPCA released the first two videos on their YouTube Channel this week. Additional videos will be released over the next few weeks. The videos will also be shared on SAPCA’s Facebook and Twitter platforms. 

The campaign, which was funded through an alcohol education and prevention grant from Virginia ABC, is the second video series launched by the coalition. Earlier this year, SAPCA released a series of videos featuring high school youth sharing the reasons they do not vape. Both campaigns invite social media users to share the videos, along with their own reasons why they do not use these substances.  

SAPCA encourages parents and other caring adults to look for and take opportunities to raise awareness of the dangers of alcohol and other substances by having conversations with children and teens about healthy decision-making and avoiding risky behaviors, with a focus on understanding and responding to peer pressure, as one component of building resilient families, youth and communities. Drinking alcohol during the teen years can harm the growing brain, which does not fully develop until age 25, and increase the risk of developing an alcohol use disorder later in life. Additionally, even small amounts of alcohol can impact judgment, coordination and decision-making since alcohol lowers  inhibitions. This can result in saying something out of character or making risky choices, such as getting in a car with a driver who has been drinking alcohol. 

Parents and caring adults can find tools on SAPCA’s website to help start the conversation, as well as a pledge to talk to children and teens about the health and legal consequences associated with alcohol use. 

Modeling healthy coping mechanisms is another crucial way parents and caring adults can help prevent youth substance use and abuse in our community since research has shown that adult drinking behavior can influence youth.  Healthy coping practices can be as simple as creating space to exercise, video chatting with friends and family, or spending five to ten minutes using a meditation app. Residents can access a wide range of resources for coping with stress in the COVID-19 Wellness Resource Guide and easy-to-share handouts with tips for coping with fear and stress resulting from the COVID19 crisis for adults and youth

Visit alexandriava.gov/SAPCA to learn more about the coalition, access information on engaging youth in conversations about the health risks and legal consequences of substance use, and resources for treatment and recovery. 


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