CADCA was an extraordinary assemblage of expertise, perspectives, and best practices. It was revelatory to connect with so many prevention experts and others working on the front lines in their communities to prevent drug misuse and abuse. Starting on Monday with SAMHSA’s Prevention Day, I got an in-depth look at e-cigarettes and vaping from experts at the CDC and FDA. I learned that our collective focus should always be on youth tobacco prevention, not cigarette prevention or vape prevention, to avoid playing “whack-a-mole” with the various products that the industry puts out or repackages. Several sessions I attended throughout the National Leadership Forum presented new, innovate ways to promote prevention messages to target audiences or provide alternative drug-free programming to youth that I can use in my service area, such as “Life of the Party” and “Crazy Cool Prevention.” Other sessions gave awesome coalition capacity building ideas that I have already started utilizing in our coalition, such as “Sustaining Coalition Leadership Through Innovative Approaches” and “Be the Justice League, Not a Super Hero.” In addition to the training sessions, I was honored to hear from “heavyweight” speakers from within the federal government, like Surgeon General Dr. Jerome Adams, ONDCP Director Jim Carroll, Secretary of Health & Human Services Alex Azar, and NIDA Director Dr. Nora Volkow. They not only provided great insight into the most recent drug trends and federal responses, but they also helped to re-energize and inspire us to continue working in our communities. Overall, CADCA was an amazing experience and gave me new ideas, information, and connections that will certainly increase the effectiveness and efficiency of my, and hopefully our coalition’s, work back home.
Russell County Prevention Coalition
Cumberland Mountain Community Services