CADCA Publisher February 12, 2014

CADCA Recognizes Three Exceptional Coalition Leaders as its 2014 Advocates of the Year

The drug prevention leaders from Ohio, Alaska and Illinois will be recognized at CADCA’s 24th National Leadership Forum

Washington, D.C. – Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) has named Karen Abernathy Murray, Deborah Williams, and Bill Gentes as its 2014 Advocates of the Year. CADCA, the nation’s leading substance abuse prevention organization representing over 5,000 community anti-drug coalitions across the country, will present the awards to each of the honorees on Thursday, Feb. 6 during its 24th annual National Leadership Forum being held Feb. 3-6 at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md.

This award recognizes substance abuse prevention leaders who are exceptional advocates for the drug prevention field, forging relationships and educating their elected officials throughout the year about key substance abuse-related issues and helping to ensure that Members of Congress understand the importance of community coalitions.

Murray, Director of the Butler County (Ohio) Coalition for Healthy, Safe and Drug Free Communities, got her start in coalition building as Director of Health Education at Miami University (Oxford, Ohio) in 1997. She coordinated Miami University’s involvement in the Ohio College Presidents’ Initiative to Reduce Binge Drinking and helped to establish The Coalition for a Healthy Community Oxford-Area.

Williams, Executive Director of the Anchorage (Alaska) Youth Development Coalition, has participated in public advocacy since graduating from Harvard Law School in 1978. Through her past experiences as a Presidential Appointee in the Clinton Administration, a practicing attorney, the CEO of the Alaska Lung Association, and a member of many boards and commissions, Williams has focused for years on public policy, achieving many legislative and regulatory victories benefitting public health.

Gentes is the Project Coordinator for the Lake County (Illinois) Underage Drinking and Drug Prevention Task Force hosted by the Lake County Health Department. Gentes, a former Mayor, now focuses much of his attention on underage drinking, prescription drug abuse and marijuana prevention issues. He has been instrumental in raising awareness about these critical issues at the community level and with policymakers.

“These three leaders are proof that no action is too small to affect change at the local level. All three of our Advocates of the Year have contributed immensely to the substance abuse prevention field. We are thrilled to be able to call attention to some of their work and look forward to collaborating for a national reduction of substance abuse and use,” said CADCA Chairman and CEO, Gen. Arthur T. Dean.

CADCA’s National Leadership Forum is the nation’s largest training for substance abuse prevention and treatment professionals and researchers, featuring more than 80 training courses to help community and state leaders prevent and reduce substance abuse and its related problems. The event offers participants an opportunity to learn effective strategies to solve their community’s substance abuse and violence problems, and to hear from the country’s leading experts on drug prevention, treatment and recovery.

For more information about CADCA’s 24th National Leadership Forum, visit

Members of the media interested in press credentials for the National Leadership Forum should contact Natalia Martinez Duncan at (202) 344-5464 or via e-mail at

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