Healthy Lamoille Valley recently attended CADCA’s National Leadership Forum! CADCA represents over 5,000 community coalitions that involve individuals from key sectors including schools, law enforcement, youth, parents, healthcare, media, tribal communities and others. This is the fourth time that we have been able to bring a team in person to the event and the third time we’ve had students attend. This was also the first time that our policy and outreach and youth coordinators were able to attend. We were part of a delegation of 30 Vermonters in the sea of 4,000 preventionists that included 600 students.

Brian, Youth Coordinator: “The national CADCA forum was a fantastic opportunity to connect in-person with prevention colleagues from all of the U.S. and learn about many different programs, strategies, and resources for connecting with youth, schools, and the community. I really enjoyed sharing this opportunity with three local youth: Adar, Arlo, and Nate. Together, we visited exhibits, attended some sessions, and participated in fun, social opportunities. The highlight was seeing them craft and deliver their powerful prevention messages to legislative staffers on Capitol Hill Day. Although we didn’t speak to any legislators that day, Adar and I ran into Senator Peter Welch on our plane ride back and got to chat with him for a little bit!”

Peter Welch and Adar, Photo credit Brian Duda

Peter Welch and Adar

Adar, Youth Member: “My highlight was all of the workshops and the activities during them. For example, during data detectives we had some really fun activities that we did.”

Arlo, Youth Member: “There were two workshops that I especially enjoyed. Public speaking – it was engaging and I learned a lot of things that will help me grow in the future. Cannabis 202 – I learned some new information that will help us understand the impacts of cannabis on youth as community use is on the rise in our region. Sightseeing favorite: Smithsonian Botanical Garden.”

Smithsonian Botanical Garden

Nate, Youth Member: “I really enjoyed the workshops where I learned about potency of cannabis products and the related data trends over the last 10 years. It was powerful to see a large number of people committed to prevention. This information and inspiration will help me as I advocate for prevention in the region.”

Jessica, Coalition Coordinator: “For me the conference is about connections. It was especially great to meet up with fellow Vermonters and mentors that I may have only met online. Each workshop I attended provided something that we can embed into our work, including preventing suicide with LBGTQ populations, adverse impacts of cannabis use on adolescents and young adults, the emerging drug crisis of psychedelics, engaging law enforcement in prevention, and telling your coalition’s story. We heard from the DEA about the especially concerning national trends related to fentanyl and our youth, and the presence of fentanyl in our communities (confirmed by local Vermont law enforcement agencies). This is additionally alarming with the presence of fentanyl in many off-market reproductions of prescription medicines that youth may purchase online thinking they are purchasing a medicine such as oxy or adderall. Please read more about fentanyl poisoning visit these websites or”

HLV Team Sightseeing

Alison Link, Outreach and Policy Coordinator: “CADCA was a great opportunity to connect with colleagues and presenters from across the country with a constant flow of information sharing. So many ideas to bring back and incorporate from policy work to coalition building strategies and equity practices. Looking forward to more collaboration within our community.”

By the way, CADCA is an acronym that used to stand for Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America. They’re in the process of changing this to something that better represents their work: Community-Based, Advocacy-Focused, Data-Driven, Coalition-Building, Association.

Did you know that CADCA has a mailing list for prevention coalitions? This is a great opportunity to ask questions and learn what is happening around the country and beyond. If you’d to get on this mailing list as part of Healthy Lamoille Valley, please email Jessica at