CADCA National Leadership Forum to Focus on Fighting Substance Abuse

Substance abuse prevention and treatment specialists will meet February 6-9 in Washington, D.C., for Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s (CADCA) 22nd annual National Leadership Forum. Participants will learn the latest strategies to fight substance abuse and hear from nationally known experts and policymakers.

The forum, expected to attract more than 2,500 people, is the nation’s largest training for substance abuse prevention and treatment professionals and researchers. It will cover topics ranging from preventing prescription drug abuse and inhalant use, to how to reduce the density of alcohol outlets.

Speakers will include experts from the Office of National Drug Control Policy, the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration, the Drug Enforcement Administration, the  National Institute on Drug Abuse, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

The meeting also will include Capitol Hill Day, when several thousand community advocates will hold meetings with their members of Congress, and the National Youth Leadership Initiative, where young people will learn how to become substance abuse prevention advocates.

    User Picture

    Robert J. Chapman, PhD

    February 2, 2012 at 1:14 PM

    It is important that we take substance use issue seriously and seek to mobilize efforts as well as support for “doing something,” but I question if “focusing on fighting substance abuse” is all that productive. Spin this conference any way you like and the focus remains on “substance abuse.”

    We do not eliminate “substance abuse” by “fighting it” any more than we eliminate starvation by “fighting hunger.” It is always more productive to move towards what you want (solutions) than away from what you fear or resent (problems).

    What about a conference on “advocating rational decision making about drug use” or “supporting those who abstain from drug use”? Yes, I sound like a 60s hippie or advocate for Liberal talk radio, but the point remains: “that which you resist, persists” (K. Jung).

    We are so focused on “drug abuse” and “drugs being bad” and “fighting substance abuse” that we neglect to see that all we talk about is drugs. Just like the federal gov learned with its expensive PSA campaign re marijuana use: Not only did use not go down in the target pop, it increased…because the target audience was bombarded with messages about adolescents using drugs. Even though the “focus” was on untoward consequences of use and abuse, what teens came away with was the message that “most teens use,” which is erroneous.

    Let’s stop focusing on what is wrong and and pay attention to supporting what is right…OMG, now I did it, paraphrased Eldridge Cleaver: “You are either part of the solution or you are part of the problem” (Soul on Ice, 1968).

Leave a Comment

Please leave a comment below to contribute to the discussion. If you have a specific question, please contact a Parent Specialist, who will provide you with one-on-one help.

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *