Perils of the College

Drinking Culture

 “The Perils of the College Drinking Culture,” a signature program of the Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County (UPC), aims to prepare families for what students will face at college related to underage and binge drinking. Since 2010 the forum has been held every year in different parts of the county in collaboration with the Fairfax County Police Department, Northern Virginia Community College (Annandale campus) and a number of Fairfax County high schools.





The Structure

The forum includes the viewing of an award-winning powerful (and graphic) documentary, HAZE, followed by a panel discussion with local experts and extensive Q & A.  Our distinguished and committed panel has included: Ray Morrogh and Casey Lingan, Commonwealth’s Attorney and Chief Deputy respectively for Fairfax County; William Hauda, M.D., emergency physician, Inova Fairfax Hospital; the Fairfax County Police Department chief and commanders; Jeff Levy, a father of a student who died following drinking at a college party; Mary Ann Sprouse, director of Wellness, Alcohol, and Violence Education and Services (WAVES) at George Mason University (GMU); Ryan Smith, a Virginia Tech doctoral student; and local college students. The panel discussion with the audience after the film is critical so that key prevention messages about underage and binge drinking and related consequences are covered as well as practical tips to help students handle situations they may encounter.




Feedback has been positive, with participants praising the film, HAZE, for raising awareness of the college drinking culture and the panel members for answering a wide array of questions from the audience. Comments have included: "This program should be extended across Virginia, in every community."  "HAZE should be required viewing for all high school students. It is a powerful movie."  At the CADCA National Conference in February 2013, the Perils forum received the “People’s Choice Award” at the Ideas Fair that included more than 40 exhibits.


In recognition of the need to reach more high school students in Fairfax County, (delete the) UPC encourages local high schools to integrate this program as a supplement to the curriculum during the junior and senior year.


For information about how to bring this program to your community, please click here





UPC's goals are to:


  • Share a realistic picture of the perils of the college drinking culture with parents and their college-bound students
  • Foster student/parent continuing dialogue before and during the first year of college about the issues of underage and binge drinking and ways the student can be prepared to handle situations and impacts
  • Save a student from avoidable harms associated with underage and binge drinking, including alcohol poisoning, sexual assaults, injury and health, and academic and legal issues that can affect their well-being


            HAZE is copyrighted by the Gordie Center for Substance Abuse Prevention at the University of Virginia for private use only.

            Duplication, re-broadcast   or other use in whole or part without the express permission of the Gordie Center is prohibited.


For further information about bringing this program to your high school, contact us or read our "how to" sheet.

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The Unified Prevention Coalition of Fairfax County (UPC) and this website are partially funded by a Virginia Strategic Prevention Framework - State Incentive Grant (SPF-SIG) and a federal SAMHSA Sober Truth on Preventing Underage Drinking grant (STOP). UPC is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization with more than 60 partners and members from the community