March 31, 2016

Coalitions in Action: Reps from Pennsylvania and Tennessee Named CADCA’s Advocates of the Year


Donna Foisy and Stephanie Armbrister Strutner have been named the 2016 Advocates of the Year by CADCA.

Both women accepted the awards during CADCA’s 26th annual National Leadership Forum last month. This award recognizes substance abuse prevention leaders who are exceptional advocates for our 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.

“CADCA is thrilled to be able to recognize Foisy and Strutner this year at our most important training event. They are both tireless advocates for the substance abuse prevention field and their efforts have made a tremendous national impact,” said CADCA’s Chairman and CEO, Gen. Arthur T. Dean.

“Being honored as CADCA’s Advocate of the Year legitimized the work our coalition has been doing. The national attention caught the eye of my elected officials and chamber of commerce and have lent a certain air of credibility to what we do,” Strutner said.

Strutner is the Executive Director for the Allies for Substance Abuse Prevention of Anderson County in Tennessee. She said that one of the advocacy projects in which she is most proud is the passing of a litigation tax in Tennessee to enable municipalities to fund prevention at the local level. It was a learning experience for her.

“The bill failed in the House committee last year and I wanted to give up on it, but our state partners really banded together this year and the bills passed through both houses quickly. Now, our local governments have the ability to designate a portion of court fees to fund substance abuse prevention, which is a huge step in the right direction,” she said.

Both Strutner and Foisy have been called upon by CADCA to work on national public policy issues. Strutner worked on the substance abuse prevention provisions included in the recently passed Every Student Succeeds Act and Foisy on the Dextromethorphan Abuse Prevention Act, which is still in the works.

The DAP Act (H.R. 3250) would amend the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act to prohibit the sale—both retail and online— of OTC medicines containing DXM to individuals younger than 18. It would also restrict sales of raw dextromethorphan to ensure that only legitimate entities registered with the FDA or comparable state agencies can purchase raw, unfinished (bulk) DXM, the active form of the ingredient. Currently, there are no national sales or purchase restrictions for the acquisition of bulk DXM.

“I am grateful to be recognized and feel honored, but, the work that I do represents a collective effort done in preventing substance abuse in Bucks County, statewide and nationally. It is by making strong connections and building relationships that serve that we can create significant and positive changes in our communities,” Foisy said. She is the Project Director of the Bucks Promise for Youth and Communities and the Youth Co-Coordinator of the Council Rock Coalition for Healthy Youth.

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