Montanan’s Attend CADCA National Leadership Forum in Washington, D.C.
CADCA Overview-Sue Brurud-Hill/Blaine County Prevention Specialist
As a prevention specialist just finishing my first year on the PFS grant, I learned so much at the CADCA conference in DC. All of the classes were very educational, well organized and engaging. I was able to meet adults and youth engaged in prevention work throughout the country, and I feel that networking experience is already helping me as I move forward with planning for our community, especially as we organize for Drugs and Alcohol Facts Week in April.
Before I left, I had written down several specific pieces of information that I was hoping to collect more information on for my coalition and to share with my schools and youth programs. One of the projects I am currently working on with our local Judge, City Prosecutor and Dean of Students, is how we decrease underage drinking, specifically among college age youth. As a part of that conversation, we have been discussing alternative educational evidence-based programming for youth age 18-20 cited for a MIP. I attended a class on “Education Citation Program: A Policy/ Systems Change To Address Underage Alcohol and Marijuana Use”. This small rural county in Washington State has implemented with great success a program very similar to the direction my community partners were wanting to take. The ECP, which gives law enforcement a “Third Option”, rather than ignoring underage use or writing a criminal citation, has been very successful in Washington State. I was able to get a copy from them of what their ECP program looks like, and a chart of the community partners they suggest having on board prior to implementation. They spoke about ways to get local law enforcement on board as well. I was so excited to bring this information back to my community! To be able to use their documented process, rather than starting from scratch, will help our community move towards implementation much sooner than if we had no formula to follow. Having these presenters contact info, will help us to have a source to turn to, answer our questions, and avoid some of their set-backs.
I feel that attending CADCA has not only increased my knowledge base in prevention, but was so exhilarating to see the work that is being done by other coalitions in the country, especially among our youth. I am grateful that I took notes in my classes, so that I can go back and take action on all the information I learned in our sessions. I use the CADCA online forum and it was great to be able to meet some of the people who have shared information with me on that site.
I can’t wait to go back, it was such a great educational experience.