At the U.S. Capitol

Jena Finch, (left), Build a Generation Youth Master Plan coordinator is with Emma Dallas, Kevin Ruiz and Monica Euceda, Lake County Build a Generation youth interns, in front of the U.S. Capitol with a poster from the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s 29th Annual National Leadership Forum.

Lake County Build a Generation youth interns Kevin Ruiz, Emma Dallas and Monica Euceda, led by Youth Master Plan Coordinator Jena Finch, headed to the Washington, D.C., area to join approximately 2,800 substance-abuse-prevention specialists and advocates from throughout the country for CADCA’s (Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America’s) 29th Annual National Leadership Forum.

CADCA’s Forum covered a range of topics – everything from how to prevent prescription drug abuse to addressing the increase in electronic cigarette use. The forum also covered trending marijuana issues and how to develop policies to reduce underage drinking.

Lake County Build a Generation interns, along with Finch heard from several leaders including Dr. Jerome M. Adams, the surgeon general of the United States, and the director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy, Jim Carroll.

Some of the coalition’s youth members will participate in CADCA’s Youth Leadership training events to help them become strong community leaders. LCBAG youth interns attended many workshops, including one that focused on the connection between youth, policy change and state laws.

“I learned so much and obtained so much information about the scale of the vape epidemic as well as the opioid epidemic,” said Dallas. “My time spent at the conference and in Washington, D.C., gave me time to reflect on and realize that mental illness is a disease that is facing our nation as well as society and needs to be looked into!”

CADCA’s National Leadership Forum, the nation’s largest training event for community prevention leaders, treatment professionals and researchers, took place at the Gaylord National Hotel and Convention Center Feb. 4-7. Visit the Forum website for details about the training sessions, speakers and special events at

To learn more, contact Finch at or 719-486-4114.

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