SAPCA Launches Video Series to Encourage Youth to Be Alcohol Free
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, reinforce and raise 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.
Help raise awareness about this campaign and some of the reasons youth in Alexandria do not drink alcohol. Share these videos on social media and tag three others to share them with their own networks. Use sample posts below or create your own to inspire youth to be substance-free.
- As a family, talk early and often about how to respond to peer pressure. By preparing and practicing for these scenarios, parents can equip youth to make healthy decisions for their health and future. Explore tips to start the conversation at Preventitalexandria.org
- Drinking alcohol during the teen years can harm the growing brain and increase the risk of developing an alcohol use disorder. Educate yourself and others about the risks and encourage youth to be substance-free. Learn more facts about alcohol at PreventItAlexandria.org.
- Even small amounts of alcohol impact judgment, coordination, and the way you make decisions. Learn some of the reasons why Alexandria youth don’t drink alcohol in the video below, then share this video and why you don’t drink alcohol. Learn more at PreventItAlexandria.org.
- Most teens in Alexandria do not drink alcohol, a trend to get behind. Learn some of the reasons why other Alexandria youth don’t drink alcohol in the video below, then share this video and why you don’t drink alcohol. Learn more at PreventItAlexandria.org.
SAPCA also provides tools and resources for residents to engage youth and initiate conversations regarding the dangers of alcohol and other substances, healthy decision making, avoiding risky behaviors, responding to peer pressure and more.
Together, we can ensure that youth in Alexandria have the information and tools to make informed choices about their health and future so they can thrive today, tomorrow and in the future. To learn about other ways to support local efforts to prevent youth substance use and misuse, contact Emma Beall at firstname.lastname@example.org
- Alcohol consumption can weaken the body’s immune system and increase susceptibility to respiratory viral infections such as COVID-19. Learn about healthy ways to cope with fear and uncertainty.
- Some people try to use alcohol to deal with physical or emotional pain, but research has shown that it can make pain worse. Learn about City resources available to help those dealing with pain.
- Healthy coping practices can be as simple as creating space to exercise, video chatting with friends or family or spending five or ten minutes using a meditation app.
- Even small amounts of alcohol impact judgment, coordination, and the way you make decisions.
- Drinking alcohol during the teen years can harms the growing brain and increase the risk of developing alcohol use disorder later in life. The brain is not fully developed until age 25.
- The amount of liquid in a glass, can or bottle does not always match up with how much alcohol is in a drink. In the United States, a standard drink contains about 0.6 fluid ounces, or 14 grams, of pure alcohol. Even though they come in different sizes, the drinks pictured below are examples of one standard drink and each contain approximately the same amount of alcohol.
- Binge drinking is the most common, costly, and deadly pattern of excessive alcohol use in the United States. Binge drinking is defined as a pattern of drinking that brings a person’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) to 0.08 g/dl or above. This typically happens when men consume 5 or more drinks or women consume 4 or more drinks in about 2 hours.
- Alcohol use disorder is a treatable medical condition, not a moral failure. Alcohol use disorder is characterized by an impaired ability to stop or control alcohol use despite social, occupational, or health consequences. It encompasses the conditions that some people refer to as alcohol abuse, alcohol dependence, alcohol addiction, and the colloquial term, alcoholism. No matter how severe the problem may seem, evidence-based treatment can help people with alcohol use disorder achieve and maintain recovery.
- Research has shown that alcohol use disorder runs in families. Young people with parents that have a history of substance abuse are four times more likely to develop a substance use disorder if they choose to drink alcohol. If substance abuse runs in your family, it’s important to realize that you are at a higher risk of developing alcoholism if you drink.
- If someone pressures you to do anything that’s not healthy for you, such as drinking alcohol, you have the right to say no.
Tips for Teens
- Test your knowledge about alcohol and drugs with this Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge quiz.
- Want to hear what other teens are saying about staying healthy during COVID-19? Check out NIDA’s Drugs & Health Blog for teens to learn about drugs and addiction and tips for staying healthy. You can also comment on posts and talk with other teens.
Tips for Parents /Caring Adults
- Modeling healthy coping mechanisms is one crucial way parents and caring adults can help prevent youth substance use and abuse in our community. If adults model that substances are needed to relieve stress, or used as a coping mechanism, it can send the wrong message to youth.
- Even though it might not seem like it, children and teens really do hear you when you talk to them about alcohol. By preparing and practicing for these scenarios, parents and caring adults can equip children and teens to make healthy decisions for their health and future. Talk early and often about the dangers of underage drinking and other substances.
- Look for and take opportunities to raise awareness of the dangers of alcohol and other substances by having conversations about healthy decision-making and avoiding risky behaviors, with a focus on understanding and responding to peer pressure.
- Be prepared for questions, but do not assume youth are engaging in risky behaviors based on what they ask questions.
- Take time to try to find out what youth are really asking - do they want advice or a listening ear? One way to determine if you are on the same page is by checking for understanding and asking “What I heard you say was ___. Is this correct?”
- Talk with your teens about what they can do if they are offered alcohol or other drugs and help your teen practice resisting peer pressure.
- Additional tips for addressing tough topics:
- Use teachable moments
- Communicate about your feelings and values
- Share a story and ask your child what they think
- Be honest about your concerns
- Check out these guides for more tips on how to address underage drinking:
Understanding and Responding to Peer Pressure
What is peer pressure?
Peer pressure is the feeling that someone your own age is pushing you toward making a certain choice, good or bad. Peer pressure can take place in many settings, including online.There are various times of peer pressure, such as:
- Put-down/Spoken: Insulting or calling a person names
- Unspoken: Something you feel without anyone saying anything to you
- Rejection: Threatening to end a friendship or relationship
- Reasoning: Telling a person reasons why they should try something or why it would be OK
Why does peer pressure work?
We all respond to peer pressure differently and sometimes it can be difficult to resist. Some reasons that teens may feel unable to resist peer pressure include that they are:
- Afraid of being rejected by others
- Want to be liked
- Do not want to lose a friend
- Want to appear grown up
- Do not want to be made fun of
- Do not want to hurt someone’s feelings
- Are not sure how to respond
- Are not sure what they really want
- Do not know how to get out of the situation
Tips for Resisting Peer Pressure
- Stand up straight
- Make eye contact
- Say how you feel
- Stick up for yourself
- Focus on your behavior and response
- Avoid being judgmental and putting down choices that others make.
- Honor your value system.
- Be confident
- Remember, “no” is a full sentence
Adult Substance Use & Mental Health Treatment
- Emergency Services: 703.746.3401 (24/7)
- Adult Intake: 703.746.3535
- For 24-hour assistance and information regarding detox services, call 703.746.3636.
Resources for Teens
- Child and Family Behavioral Health Services (For children with mental health or substance use challenges):
- Email: DCHSYouthIntake@alexandriava.gov
It is a Class 1 misdemeanor for anyone under 21 to buy, consume, or possess any alcohol beverage. Penalties upon conviction include:
- Mandatory minimum fine of $500 (up to $2,500) or a minimum of 50 hours of community service
- Loss of driver’s license for 6 to 12 months
- Up to 12 months in jail
- Possible expulsion from school if caught on school property and/or possible loss of participation in all after school activities
- The additional penalty for driving after illegally consuming alcohol is mandatory loss of a driver’s license for one year or a delay in obtaining a first license.
- For use of a fake ID to purchase an alcoholic beverage, the additional penalty is loss of a driver’s license for up to one year.
It is a Class 1 misdemeanor for adults to provide alcoholic beverages to any person under the age of 21. Penalties upon conviction include:
- A $2,500 fine per young person provided any alcoholic beverage
- Loss of the adult’s driver’s license for up to one year and/or one year in jail