Coalition Members Infiltrate Indianapolis to Become Change Agents at CADCA’s 14th Annual Mid-Year Training

More than 1,500 substance abuse prevention and treatment specialists from across the country convened in Indianapolis this week for CADCA’s 2015 Mid-Year Training Institute. The week-long training, held at the JW Marriott, taught participants how to address one of our nation’s biggest public health challenges – youth drug use.

CADCA will send first-time attendee Lee Jack Alirez home, revved up and ready to implement new ideas as an “Agent of Change” in Truth or Consequences, NM. A new police chief there, but a veteran law enforcement officer, Alirez said, “What an amazing group of national and international professionals committed to improving quality of life and health for others. I’m honored to be considered among them.”

Mid-week, participants got to hear from and interact with Michael Botticelli, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy. He released Drug-Free Communities evaluation data that showed coalitions are effective. Read a blog penned by Botticelli and CADCA’s Chairman and CEO Gen. Arthur Dean about this “Combating Youth Prescription Drug Use through Coalitions.”

Botticelli spent an afternoon with CADCA’s 200 youth from around the country who participated in CADCA’s youth-led, adult guided training, the National Youth Leadership Initiative (NYLI), where they learned how to become drug prevention advocates and powerful community leaders. Later, and Administrator Helen Hernandez addressed both adults and youth at a Town Hall meeting.

CADCA’s Mid-Year Training Institute is a one-of-a-kind intensive training opportunity, offering more than 70 half-day and two-day courses geared towards helping participants find solutions to their community’s toughest substance abuse problems.

"The Mid-Year is a unique professional development opportunity for anyone trying to prevent and reduce drug abuse, and its related problems, in their community,” said General Arthur T. Dean, CADCA's Chairman and CEO. “After four days of intensive training, we hope participants return to their communities with new skills and strategies, and a clearer roadmap to create environments where young people can thrive.”

CADCA’s Mid-Year covered a wide range of topics – everything from how to prevent prescription drug abuse and reduce heroin use to how to create tobacco-free environments, reduce impaired driving and develop policies to reduce marijuana use, synthetic drug use and underage drinking.

Two digital publications were debuted at the conference. An impaired driving prevention online toolkit that CADCA worked on in partnership with the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) was popular among attendees. And CADCA’s latest Strategizer was released. Produced jointly with the Center for Alcohol Marketing and Youth,  Strategizer 57: Reducing Alcohol-Related Harms Through Commercial Host Liability introduces public health depart­ments, community coalitions and other interested organizations and individuals to commercial host liability as a public health intervention to reduce the health and social problems associated with excessive alcohol use. 

Keynote speakers included Kana Enomoto, Deputy Principal Administrator for the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and and Karla Sneegas, Branch Chief for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Office of Smoking and Health.

In addition, participants heard from a number of renown experts in the field of drug use prevention, treatment and research such as Dr. Ruben Baylor, Health Science Administrator for the National Institute on Drug Abuse; Fran Harding, Director of SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention; Dr. Ralph Hingson, Director of the Division of Epidemiology and Prevention Research for the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism;  Dr. David Jernigan, Associate Professor, Department of Health, Behavior and Society and Director, Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health; Joe Rannazzisi, Deputy Assistant Administrator, Office of Diversion Control, Drug Enforcement Administration; and many others.

CADCA welcomed 33 international guests representing 12 countries as well as a delegation from the Navajo Nation. More than 50 coalition members, including youth, spent one evening volunteering to paint, organize and scrub a home for local people in recovery as part of a community service project. Others walked along Indy’s canal as part of CADCA’s Healthy Happy Hour. For the first time, CADCA offered an Advanced Coalition Academy and a special track for law enforcement personnel.

Attendees can download presentations from the app or from www.cadca.org/myti.