Prevention is key to ending addiction, says speaker at the National Prevention Week kick-off forum

Published on Tuesday, 14 May 2019 21:17
Written by Karla Santos


NEW BRITAIN – “The part of the brain that tells you to survive is what gets disrupted with addiction and it’s a really hard disease to manage.”

That was one of the lessons learned from Dr. Ruth Potee’s remarks Monday at Connecticut’s National Prevention Week kick-off forum, which took place at the New Britain Museum of American Art.

During Potee’s talk, “The Physiology of Addiction: Effects of Drug Taking Behavior on the Brain,” she also reminded the audience that prevention is much easier than treatment.

“It’s much harder to treat it once it has happened than actually preventing it from ever happening at all,” Potee said.

The event was the first of a series of community events that are happening this week throughout the state in awareness of substance abuse prevention. The week consists of two main events including Monday’s forum and an event on Thursday.

Each day of National Prevention Week has a different theme starting with “Preventing Prescription and Opioid Drug Misuse,” which was Monday’s theme. The week continued with “Preventing Underage Drinking and Alcohol Misuse” on Tuesday.

Today’s theme is “Preventing Illicit Drug Use and Youth Marijuana Use.” Thursday will be all about “Preventing Youth Tobacco Use,” and Friday, the focus will be “Preventing Suicide.”

During Monday’s forum, the winners of this year’s National Prevention Week video contest were announced. This year marks the second year of the contest which was sponsored by the Connecticut planning committee for National Prevention Week 2019.

“This year there were five videos submitted in two categories, high school group submissions and community group submissions,” said Carol Meredith, director of prevention services at the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. “A winner was selected in each category. Today we are pleased to announce the two first place winners.”

In the community category, the winner was Enfield Together Coalition with a video titled “Because you care, don’t share.” In the high school category, Danbury High School was selected as the winner for their video called “How to save a life.”

Mayor Erin Stewart was also on board at the forum and presented the opening remarks.

“When you come together and you bring a community together, you can make massive change,” Stewart said. “I think that’s what today is about, inspiring action and changing lives and that’s what the theme of this prevention week is. Because when you bring everyone together you are inspiring action through advocacy and that is the best thing that all of us can do. Be an advocate, inspire that action and you will change life by bringing people together.”

The second main event of Connecticut’s National Prevention Week 2019 is a Health and Wellness Fair at the State Capitol from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Connecticut’s National Prevention Week 2019 is a collaboration between the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Wheeler Clinic and National Prevention Week.

To learn more about National Prevention Week, visit .

Karla Santos can be reached at 860-801-5079 or

Posted in New Britain Herald, New Britain on Tuesday, 14 May 2019 21:17. Updated: Tuesday, 14 May 2019 21:19.