Written By John Inglis, Nori Lopez, and Ford Pender|
Photos By Kelley Edwards|
On Sunday, February 3rd, Substance Abuse Prevention Coordinator and REACT advisor Kelly Edwards along with Human Services Director David Melillo and REACT students, sophomore Bianca Arias, and junior Sarah Auletta headed down to Washington DC to attend the International Conference of Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA). CADCA is an organization that works to make their community safe, healthy, and drug-free. The trip was funded by state representative Jesse MacLachlan.
Everyone got together with their specific representatives and senators. People from Connecticut met with Congressman Joe Courtney and the assistants of Senator Richard Blumenthal and Senator Chris Murphy. They discussed the e-cigarette epidemic, vaping, and how Connecticut plans on legalizing marijuana. Kelly Edwards stated, “that it was a great experience to meet with the people that make our laws.”
The attendees split up to attend different workshops about vaping and other modern-day problems such as substance abuse and mental health. They also met and had dinner with the director of SAM (safe approaches to marijuana), Kevin Sabet. They learned that a lot of marijuana businesses are getting funded by international businesses.
Sarah and Bianca were asked to go on this trip because they have been involved in REACT for many years. Sarah’s favorite part of the trip was having the opportunity to speak with Congressman Joe Courtney. Bianca’s favorite part of the trip was getting to explore D.C. in her free time and learning about history. Bianca said she likes “getting to connect with other kids around the world.”
After the national conference and talking to their representatives, they had some free time to go sightseeing. They visited the Vietnam Memorial, Korean War Memorial, MLK Memorial, Jefferson Memorial, and the Lincoln Memorial.