YOUTHINK Montcalm (formerly Drug Free Montcalm) Joined 2,500 Communities Leaders from Across the Country at CADCA’s National Leadership Conference

Montcalm County – Representatives from YOUTHINK Montcalm, our county’s substance abuse prevention community group, joined more than 2,500 substance abuse prevention specialists and advocates from throughout the country for Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s (CADCA) 24th Annual National Leadership Forum.

“We were so excited to be able to spend several days with other similar organizations from across the country, learning and honing our prevention skills so our community can be a better place, one that doesn’t suffer from the harms of drug and alcohol abuse,” said Patti Warmington, Director of Health Promotion at Cherry Street Health Services, who oversees the Drug Free Communities grant that funds YOUTHINK Montcalm activities. “It was wonderful to have two coalition members and our coalition coordinator be able to take part in this amazing learning opportunity with me. We came back reenergized with new strategies under our belt to tackle drug use and promote a positive community environment in Montcalm County.”

Coalition member, Amanda M. Ciluffo, MA, LLPC, added, “it was heartening to spend time with so many dedicated and passionate community leaders.” Coalition member, Stephanie Hurst, Victims Services Specialist with Mothers Against Drunk Driving, stated, “being among some of the leaders of drug and alcohol reform policymakers was inspirational. Knowing that we all have a part to play and watching those different parts meld into something that is bigger than any single person, was energizing!”

CADCA’s Forum covered a wide range of topics – everything from how to prevent prescription drug abuse and marijuana use to how to create tobacco-free environments and develop policies to reduce underage and excessive drinking.

The coalition has recently impacted the community by hosting a community training on environmental planning and having sequent meetings to flesh out the details for a community plan. The Coalition also offers annual education to tobacco and alcohol venders.

The coalition also met with their U.S. representatives and senators at the CADCA Forum’s Capitol Hill Day event on Wednesday, Feb. 5.
CADCA’s National Leadership Forum, the nation’s largest training conference for community prevention leaders, treatment professionals and researchers and SAMHSA’s 10th Prevention Day, took place at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center Feb. 3-6. For more information, visit

YOUTHINK Montcalm’s mission is to work to improve the health of our community by reducing the use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs with an emphasis on protecting youth.