3,000 Community Leaders Convene at CADCA’s National Leadership Forum to Discuss Opioid Epidemic, Marijuana, & Other Substance Abuse Prevention Challenges

Approximately 3,000 community leaders will unite at CADCA’s (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) 28th Annual National Leadership Forum. The event will be held Feb. 5-8, 2018, at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center in National Harbor, Md. Forum will kick off with the Substance Abuse Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) Prevention Day; feature 70+ training sessions covering topics ranging from the marijuana legislation landscape and tobacco cessation to the opioid epidemic and underage drinking; offer attendees the unique opportunity to meet with members of Congress on Capitol Hill Day; and welcome hundreds of youth to take part in CADCA’s Youth Leadership to learn how to become effective community leaders.

CADCA’s National Leadership Forum is a four-day event packed with opportunities to learn the latest strategies to address substance abuse and hear from nationally-known prevention experts, federal administrators, and concerned policymakers. Forum brings together attendees representing coalitions from all regions of the country and internationally, government leaders, youth, prevention specialists, addiction treatment professionals, addiction recovery advocates, researchers, educators, law enforcement professionals, and faith-based leaders. It is the largest training event for the prevention field.

“CADCA’s National Leadership Forum is more than a training event; it is the culmination of what we work towards every day. It’s a national movement that brings together federal and state officials and community leaders from across the country to find solutions to our nation’s substance abuse problems,” said CADCA Chairman and CEO Gen. Arthur T. Dean. “Attendees leave our Forum more knowledgeable and inspired to go back home and implement strategies for a safe, healthy and drug-free community.”

Several notable speakers will participate in Forum. On Tuesday, acting director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy Richard Baum and former CADCA youth trainer Khiree Smith will keynote the National Leadership Plenary along with CADCA Chairman and CEO Gen. Arthur T. Dean. On Thursday, Heather McNair, Vice President of Engagement Strategy at Higher Logic, will discuss social media strategies and introduce attendees to the brand-new members-only CADCA online community.  

During Capitol Hill Day on Wednesday, participants will hear a legislative update from CADCA’s Public Policy Consultant Sue Thau. Forum attendees will have the chance to interact with Congress members at the Capitol Hill Day Plenary and Legislative Update via a roundtable discussion. Later, attendees will gather at Upper Senate Park for a Congressional Rally before meeting with their representatives on the Hill. A number of Congressional members will participate throughout the day, including:

  • The Honorable Evan Jenkins (R-3rd/WV)
  • The Honorable Paul Tonko (D-20th/NY)
  • The Honorable Bill Johnson (R-6th/OH)
  • The Honorable Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
  • The Honorable Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI)
  • The Honorable Hal Rogers (R-KY/5th)
  • The Honorable Ann McLane Kuster (D-NH/2nd)
  • The Honorable Sandy Levin (D-MI/9th)
  • The Honorable Rob Portman (R-OH)
  • The Honorable Joe Manchin III (D-WV)

More than 400 youth will also attend the training event to take part in CADCA’s Youth Leadership Summit, where youth learn how to become substance abuse prevention advocates and powerful community leaders.


The mission of CADCA (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America) is to strengthen the capacity of community coalitions to create and maintain safe, healthy and drug-free communities globally.  This is accomplished by providing technical assistance and training, public policy advocacy, media strategies and marketing programs, training and special events.