C.A.R.E. Coalition Attends National Forum
Last updated 3/11/2019 at 1:36pm
Members of the C.A.R.E. Coalition of Transylvania County attended the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) National Forum in Washington, D.C., in early February.
The representatives from Transylvania County were Hali Chapman, a senior at Rosman High School, and Bain Brown, coalition intern and a senior at Brevard High School; Arleca Chapman, director of career and technical education at Transylvania County Schools and a member of the C.A.R.E. Executive Board; and Kristen Gentry, C.A.R.E.'s coalition coordinator.
The conference, which hosted more than 3,000 adults and 500 youth from 700 coalitions, was a massive event where our Transylvania County representatives were able to learn and network with drug prevention advocates from across the country.
Members of the coalition must stay up to date on the most effective substance abuse prevention strategies, and this conference provided information on best practices supported by evidence gathered from across the nation.
Prevention professionals taught about the ineffectiveness of scare tactics and instead encouraged positive social norming and emphasizing healthy living.
In addition to education efforts, effective substance abuse prevention also requires approaching issues from a policy level, and legislation and program implementation are vital to success. Members of the coalition learned about policy efforts being made across the nation such as the success in changing the legal purchase age of tobacco to 21 in some states and municipalities. This kind of knowledge and idea generation helps the attendees to come back and spend their time effectively to create a healthier, more vibrant Transylvania County.
The conference also provided information and insight into emerging substance abuse issues. One of the key issues being faced by the nation is the use of electronic vapor products, especially by students. The Transylvania County School Board and the C.A.R.E. Coalition have identified this as a major issue to address in the coming year. They hope to aid in the prevention of nicotine addiction caused using vape products among young people.
First Lady Melania Trump spoke exclusively to the youth attendees to offer her thanks and support for the work they have been doing to address the opioid crisis.
She said that, "the positive impact they can and will have on their peers is what will ultimately produce the change we want to see within our communities."
The CADCA Forum also offered the opportunity for attendees to speak to elected representatives. Coalition members advocated for the funding of the Drug Free Communities program to U.S. Rep. Mark Meadows and U.S. Senators Thom Tillis and Richard Burr.
This bill allocated funding for 23 coalitions like C.A.R.E. across the state, including five coalitions in Mark Meadows' own N.C. District 11. Although each of these elected officials have provided significant verbal support for the work of C.A.R.E. and its statewide counterparts, none of them have voted to support the federal funding that makes the coalition's work possible.
The four attendees from Transylvania County came back revitalized by witnessing the strength of the substance abuse prevention movement nationwide and excited to implement what they have learned to benefit the people of this community.
The C.A.R.E. Coalition is working towards a healthy, vibrant Transylvania County free of underage drinking and substance abuse.
All are welcome to attend the next Coalition meeting on Wednesday, March 13, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. in the Community Services Building Con-ference room at 106 E. Morgan St.
For more information, call (828) 884-1750, visit http://www.transylvaniacare.org.