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Virginia ABC Presents “BOLT” Middle School Initiative to Help Prevent Underage Alcohol and Drug Use

April 11, 2016

News Release Contact:

Kathleen Shaw - (804) 213-4640
Email: kathleen.shaw@abc.virginia.gov

Virginia ABC Presents “BOLT” Middle School Initiative to Help Prevent Underage Alcohol and Drug Use

April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and the Virginia Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) is spreading its prevention message to youth with the launch of its second annual Being Outstanding Leaders Together Against Drugs and Alcohol (BOLT) program for middle school students.

BOLT events encourage conversations between parents and preteens about the dangers of drugs and alcohol, and are hosted by community groups through a partnership with Virginia ABC’s Education and Prevention Section. The following spring BOLT events are FREE and open to middle school students and their parents:

  • Saturday, April 16, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Lafayette High School, 4460 Longhill Drive, Williamsburg. Students and parents from Williamsburg, Newport News and West Point; and James City, Surry and New Kent counties are invited to attend.
  • Saturday, May 7, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Central Middle School, 250 Statesman Drive, Charlotte Court House. Students and parents from Charlotte County are invited to attend.

According to a U.S. Surgeon General report, almost 20 percent of 14-year-olds say they've been drunk at least once. Another study by RAND Health found that three-quarters of seventh graders had used alcohol.

“BOLT allows us to reach a critical age group and equip students with the knowledge and skills to make healthy life choices,” said ABC Education and Prevention Manager Katie Weaks.

High school students who have attended ABC’s Youth Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention Project (YADAPP) worked in each locality to create the BOLT programs and will serve as mentors to their younger peers. The educational objectives of the BOLT program include:

  • To discuss the detrimental effects of alcohol on the body and brain, and how underage drinking can reduce academic performance and result in legal consequences.
  • To provide an opportunity for peer leadership.
  • To help young people understand the role peer pressure plays in underage drinking decisions, as well as the role that alcohol and drugs play in relationships, suicide and violence.

Students and parents in the respective areas are invited to register by contacting regional partners. For BOLT on April 16 at Lafayette High School in Williamsburg, contact co-coordinators Alexis Carrington (wynonna.carrington@nn.k12.va.us) and Jamie Plecker (jamie.plecker@nn.k12.va.us) at Newport News Public Schools. For BOLT on May 7 at Central Middle School in Charlotte County, contact Karen Osborne (osbornek@ccps.k12.va.us) at Charlotte County Public Schools.

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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 83rd year, ABC remains committed to progress and innovation in carrying out its control, service and revenue mission.

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2016
  • Virginia ABC Presents “BOLT” Middle School Initiative to Help Prevent Underage Alcohol and Drug Use