As this year's Fairfax County high school seniors start to receive acceptance letters and prepare for life away from home, the Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County is once again trying to make the risks of underage drinking a part of college-bound conversations.
The organization's annual "Perils of the College Drinking Culture” Forum — a panel discussion on underage and binge drinking designed for students and their parents — kicks off Thursday in McLean, with three other dates set later this spring at locations across the region.
The program begins at 7 p.m. Thursday in the auditorium of McLean High School, 1633 Davidson Rd., McLean.
Though the group, a nonprofit dedicated to preventing substance abuse and violence among Fairfax County's youth, has held the forum with the Fairfax County Police Department since 2010, it adjusts and grows each year to include new information, studies and panel members.
"This is a valuable program, and we encourage parents and students to attend in 2013," said Sara Freund, UPC's deputy executive director, in a statement.
The forums open with the documentary HAZE, followed by a panel discussion with local experts and a question and answer session with the audience.
This year's panelists, according to a news release from UPC, include:
- Ray Morrogh, Commonwealth's Attorney for Fairfax County, and his deputy Casey Lingan
- William Hauda, M.D., Inova Fairfax Hospital
- Fairfax County Police Captain Bruce Ferguson, Commander, Community Resources Division
- Jeff Levy, father of a student who died following drinking at a college party
- Mary Ann Sprouse, director of the Office of Alcohol, Drug and Health Education at George Mason University (GMU)
- Ryan Smith, a Virginia Tech graduate student, and other local students.
For more information, visit UPC's website or call Lucy Caldwell with the Fairfax County Police Department at 703-246-3271.