This will be the third year Newport News native Dakota Rust has carved time out from school, football, basketball and hanging out with his friends to help fight substance abuse in his community.
“I am conscious about the problems in my community as a result of drug and alcohol abuse, and I realized that I can possibly change these issues with the help of my peers,” said Rust, a student at Thomas Nelson Community College and one of the volunteer leaders at Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control’s (ABC) 2016 Youth Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Project (YADAPP).
Integral to the success of YADAPP are its peer leaders like Rust. They include 58 youth leaders who guide and coach student participants through the program, which requires that each team in attendance develop Strategies to Act Now (STAN) plans. The plans are created to prevent high school substance abuse within their own school and/or community.
For more than three decades, enthusiastic teams of Virginia youth have convened for a week in the summer to brainstorm ways to inspire their peers to keep their schools and communities alcohol and drug-free. April is Alcohol Awareness month, and Virginia ABC is taking this opportunity to recognize the youth from around the state who each year volunteer their time and concerted efforts to combat pervasive issues like underage drinking and drug use.
YADAPP has given rise to many innovative and collaborative programs over the years to promote safer and healthier lifestyles. Youth from across the commonwealth gather to work together creating plans to deter high-risk behaviors during the coming school year. This year’s conference is set for July 18-22 at Longwood University in Farmville.
Since 1987 the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) has recognized April as Alcohol Awareness Month. Throughout the 30 days local, state and national organizations set goals to increase public awareness and understanding of alcohol-related issues.
Alcohol use by young people has dangerous consequences. According to NCADD, more than 23 million people over the age of 12 are addicted to alcohol and other drugs.
“Virginia ABC works hard to lead the commonwealth in alcohol prevention and community education initiatives,” said Virginia ABC Chairman Jeffrey Painter. “We are dedicated to promoting responsible consumption by those of legal age and a zero tolerance for underage consumption.”
In addition to the YADAPP program, Virginia ABC offers many education and prevention initiatives, including a grant program that annually awards funds to community organizations for alcohol education and prevention programs across the state; and a College Tour conference that advocates healthy choices and social responsibility to Virginia college students.
The Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is a major source of revenue for the commonwealth, contributing more than $1.8 billion to the general fund in the last five years. The agency currently operates 358 state stores. Its Bureau of Law Enforcement oversees more than 16,000 ABC licensed establishments while the Hearings and Appeals Division considers more than 700 cases each year. The agency also provides alcohol education and prevention programs for people of all ages. Now marking its 82nd year, ABC remains committed to progress and innovation in carrying out its control, service and revenue mission.
Virginia ABC Salutes Youth Leaders During Alcohol Awareness Month