jump to navigation
Print    E-Mail   Share External link. Please review our Disclaimer 

Back to Success Stories

Story details header

Student Wellness Conference

Hosted by: Worcester County District Attorney s Office

Story details header

Please briefly describe your Communities Talk activity.

Each year, the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office holds an annual student wellness conference for middle and high school students from across the 60 communities within the district. On May 31, 2023, the conference was an in-person event held at Anna Maria College and welcomed over 350 students and chaperones. The full-day event included a keynote speaker, a resource fair with tables from over 20 community partners, lunch, and a closing speaker. With funding from SAMHSA’s Communities Talk, we were able to feature Eric Daddario as the keynote speaker. Through his presentation titled ˜The Decisions We Make,” Eric shared his personal difficulties as a young adult, including a major injury that ended his promising sports career and the loss of his brother, who had challenges with substance use disorder. Eric was a dynamic speaker whose firsthand account of challenges, coupled with an encouraging and empowering message regarding responsible decision-making, self-advocacy, and accessing support, was moving and made a true impact on attendees. The closing speakers, were parent representatives from For Cameron Inc., shared the story of their son Cameron, who died of a fatal overdose from a counterfeit pill that contained fentanyl. This family story was powerful and fully engaged the students, who flooded the stage after the presentation to further discuss their personal experiences and concerns about counterfeit pills and fentanyl.

Story details header

How does alcohol and other drug misuse affect your community?

Guest speakers

Worcester County, Massachusetts, is a large region of 60 communities that include large cities and small, rural towns. This sprawling area has been impacted by increasing opioid use, impaired driving tragedies, and the need for increased community response to substance use disorder. District Attorney Joseph Early, Jr. is committed to providing prevention programming across the district. As part of this mission, the annual Worchester County Student Wellness Conference is an effort to engage with middle and high school students and improve outcomes for young adults who frequently face exposure to use of substances in their community, friend groups, or families.

Story details header

Which prevention strategy(ies), as defined by SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Prevention, best fit your Communities Talk activity?

  • Information Dissemination Strategy - focuses on improving awareness and knowledge of the effects of AOD issues on communities and families through “one-way” communication with the audience such as speaking engagements, health fairs, and distribution of print materials.
Story details header

What goal(s) did you hope to accomplish with your Communities Talk activity?

  • Hold meetings or discussion groups on alcohol and/or other drug misuse prevention.
Story details header

Did you accomplish your goal(s)?


Story details header

How did you overcome these challenges?

There were no additional challenges experienced in the planning of this event.

Story details header

What are your next steps?

view of participants in auditorium
  • Host follow-up meetings or activities
  • Expand our coalition with new partnerships in the community
Story details header

If you’ve conducted Communities Talk activities in prior years, how has your repeated participation contributed to progress in achieving your prevention goals?

Funding through Communities Talk has allowed us to grow participation of our event each year. We are looking forward to the 2024 stipend cycle.  

Story details header

Organizations that conduct Communities Talk activities often involve other organizations in the planning and execution of events. Please indicate which type(s) of organizations you involved in your activity planning.

  • Colleges or universities
Story details header

Which of the following best describes the primary audience(s) for your Communities Talk activity?

  • Youth
Story details header

How did you reach and engage your primary audience(s) to encourage them to participate in your activity?

Invitations to the student wellness conference were sent via email to all the middle and high schools in the Worchester County district.

Story details header

Which Communities Talk resources (or other SAMHSA resources) were most helpful for your activity?

persons at resource table
  • Prevention-related webinars
  • StopAlcoholAbuse.gov website
  • StopAlcoholAbuse.gov What’s New email newsletter

Return to Success Stories