The Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County earned a federal grant of nearly $200,000 last week to continue its mission of preventing and reducing underage drinking.
The Oakton-based nonprofit is one of 81 groups nationwide — and the only in Virginia — to receive a Sober Truth on Preventing Underage Drinking (STOP) Act Grant for $48,238 this year and a total of $193,032 over the next four years.
"Our students are beginning to experiment with alcohol at age 11, and we must strengthen our efforts on reducing initiation of alcohol use during the transition from elementary to middle school," said Amy Reif, UPC’s health sector coordinator.
The grant will help UPC will strengthen its focus on community awareness of the underage drinking problem, while also advocating the use of American Academy of Pediatrics' alcohol screening tool in sixth grade school physicals and sports physicals for high-schoolers in Fairfax County, UPC said in a statement.
The screening tool asks doctors to use two questions to help detect risk for alcohol-related problems early in a student's adolescence.
UPC will continue its program "The Perils of College Drinking Culture," which is a program presented around the county and designed for college-bound students and their parents.