Annie Colonna, the Director of Prevention Services at the Warwick Valley Community Center and the Coordinator of the Warwick Valley Prevention Coalition, joined members of the Vernon Coalition and approximately 3,000 substance abuse prevention specialists and advocates from throughout the country for the CADCA’s (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s) 27th Annual National Leadership Forum that was recently held in Washington, D.C.
“We have come back re-energized with new strategies under our belt to tackle drug use in Warwick and Vernon,” said Colonna. “CADCA’s Forum covered a wide range of topics – everything from how to prevent prescription drug abuse and the abuse of synthetic drugs and marijuana to how to create tobacco-free environments and develop policies to reduce underage drinking.”
The Warwick Valley Prevention Coalition recently received a Drug-Free Communities Mentoring grant, which will enable the coalition to grow and develop so that they can apply for five-year funding through the Drug Free Communities grant program. They have also been supportive in the passage of the Orange County Social Host Law in 2016 and the new 2017 Orange County law that raised the age for purchase of tobacco and tobacco products to 21. In March 2017 they will offer the Guiding Good Choices program for parents of middle-school students at Warwick’s Middle School.
The Vernon Coalition was honored during the conference with the Coalition of Excellence Award for Intermediate Outcomes. Their focus has been on reducing alcohol and marijuana use among Vernon’s youth, and they demonstrated their impact by reducing 30 day use by youth while increasing the perception of harm for both substances, as well as reducing other risks. Major General Arthur Dean, U.S. Army, Retired, Chairman and CEO of CADCA presented the award to the Vernon Coalition during the National Leadership Awards Luncheon on Thurs., Feb. 9.
The coalition representatives heard from several federal leaders including Michael Botticelli, former director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy and Senator Sheldon Whitehouse who both received CADCA’s National Leadership Award at the event. The Warwick Prevention Coalition and delegates from all over NY State also met with Senator Charles Schumer and with the staffs of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney at the Forum’s Capitol Hill Day event held on Wed., Feb. 8.
Warwick Valley Coalition Meetings
The Warwick Valley Prevention Coalition is a group of concerned parents, youth and community partners working to reduce alcohol and marijuana abuse among youth and to prevention initiation into all drug use by encouraging wise and healthy choices by all community members. The Coalition meets on the fourth Thursday of every month at 6:30 pm at the Warwick Valley Community Center, located at 11 Hamilton Ave. in Warwick. For more information call Annie Colonna at 986-6422.