National Prevention Network Conference
By Tracy Flinn
Senior Research Analyst, National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors, Inc.
The National Association of State Alcohol and Drug Abuse Directors 32nd annual National Prevention Network (NPN) Conference was held August 27-29, 2019, in Chicago, Illinois. The mission of the NPN Conference is to bring current prevention research to community-based practitioners and state and local prevention systems. The Conference, hosted in a different state each year and planned by state substance use prevention directors, is one of the most respected, long-standing conferences focused on science-based strategies for preventing the misuse of alcohol, drugs, and tobacco products. Nearly a thousand participants attended this year’s conference.
Participants from across 49 states, seven U.S. territories and 10 Native American Tribes attended this year’s conference. The program featured keynote addresses from U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (Illinois) and prevention researcher Dr. Phillip Graham, as well as more than 60 workshop breakout sessions highlighting a variety of substance use prevention issues, successes, and innovative strategies. Workshop presentations can be viewed at http://npnconference.org/2019-workshop-presentations/.
As it is the inaugural year of the PTTC Network, the PTTCs made sure to leverage this conference as a way to connect with prevention professionals through presentations, networking breaks, and the exhibit hall. More than 40 staff members from across the PTTC Network were in attendance — each Regional and National Center was represented. Eight of the Regional Centers presented a total of 11 sessions throughout the conference. These sessions addressed issues concerning state cannabis policies, cultural competency, opioid misuse, economic evaluation, rural communities, tribal communities, and Latinx communities.
The NPN Conference was a fabulous opportunity to network and share ideas with prevention professionals from our New England region and from around the country. There was a lot of great discussion in my session on marijuana policy and prevention. While we face a lot of challenges as more of our states move towards legalization, this conference made clear we have a talented and passionate workforce all across the country ready to face those challenges and support their communities. It was very inspiring to see and hear that passion! — Scott Gagnon, Director of the New England PTTC
The PTTC Network Coordinating Office exhibited on behalf of the Network and connected dozens of attendees with their Regional Centers. Visitors to the exhibit were able to take with them an assortment of educational materials developed by the PTTCs (informational sheets, wallet cards, brochures) along with giveaways such as PTTC-branded pens, screen cleaners, and reusable straws. Team members from all PTTCs wore big green buttons throughout the conference with “Ask me about the PTTC Network!” on them. To top off the conference, PTTC staff met one evening at a rooftop restaurant for an informal social event to make connections and get to know one another.
“The NPN conference was a great opportunity for the newly launched PTTC Network to establish more connections with leaders in the prevention field.” — Holly Hagle, Co-Director Prevention Technology Transfer Center (PTTC NCO)
Planning will soon begin for the 2020 NPN Conference, which will convened in Birmingham, Alabama, August 25-27, 2020. The call for workshop proposals will be open in March 2020. Mark your calendar, and we’ll see you in Birmingham!