BayCare Behavioral Health to Cohost 6th Annual Substance Abuse Prevention Conference

August 02, 2017
New Port Richey, Fla. (August 2, 2017) – BayCare Behavioral Health in partnership with the Pasco County Alliance for Substance Abuse Prevention (ASAP) will host the Sixth Annual Substance Abuse Prevention Conference Thursday, Sept. 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Saddlebrook Resort, 5700 Saddlebrook Way, Wesley Chapel.

Over the past five years the conference has grown from an initial attendance of 50 to more than 400 participants last year as community members joined with mental health and substance abuse prevention professionals to tackle pressing problems in our local communities.

“Strengthening Our Communities: Opportunities for Action” is the theme for this year’s conference, which will feature national and local presenters addressing the issues of substance abuse and successful recovery. 

The keynote speaker will be Andy Duran, executive director of LEAD (Linking Efforts Against Drugs) and the SpeakUP! Prevention Coalition based in the Chicago area. LEAD promotes healthy family relationships to help teens find alternatives to using drugs and alcohol. Duran offers trainings, workshops and technical assistance for organizations across the country.

Mark Fontaine, executive director of the Florida Alcohol and Drug Abuse Association (FADAA) will give the opening remarks, and the Honorable Shawn Crane of the 6th Judicial Circuit will emcee the event. 

A panel discussion focusing on the needs of people in recovery and how to keep them in recovery will follow the keynote speech. Panelists are Chris Nocco, Pasco County Sheriff; Brian Prescott, coordinator of prevention and intervention programs with Pasco County Schools, and Erica Smith, a manager of behavioral health services with BayCare. The panel also will include two adults and a student in recovery. 

The afternoon will feature breakout sessions led by local experts.  The session titles are:
  • The Incarceration of Our Mentally ill
  • Wellness Begins at Your Public Library
  • Prescription Opioid Misuse in Rural Communities
  • Substance Use Disorders and Our Aging Population
  • Building Tribe in a Disconnected World
  • Opioid Overdose Prevention and Naloxone or Overdose Reversal
  • Caring and Communication in Substance Abuse Disorders
  • Housing the Homeless

Vendors representing behavioral health providers and businesses also will have exhibits.

“BayCare is committed to partnering with our community to tackle the opioid crisis that is devastating individuals, families and communities,” said Gail Ryder, vice president, BayCare Behavioral Health Services. “This conference, which is open to anyone, offers a unique opportunity to find out about the innovative health and wellness solutions being implemented as well as how to become a part of the solution.”

“Substance abuse affects our entire community. When we work together, we create healthy solutions that will propel lasting change,” added Monica Rousseau, Pasco County ASAP Coordinator and conference co-chair.  

Registration is $30 in advance and $35 at the door. Lunch is included. CEUs will be offered.

Pasco ASAP was founded in 2006 and has become a large prevention coalition in Pasco County. The mission is to coordinate community efforts to reduce countywide risk factors for addiction, thereby preventing and decreasing substance abuse in a comprehensive and long-term manner that primarily impacts the youth in the community. For more information about Pasco ASAP initiatives and meetings, please visit

To learn more about the conference and to register, please visit

About BayCare Behavioral Health

As part of BayCare Health System, a leading community-based health system in the Tampa Bay area, BayCare Behavioral Health is committed to clinical excellence, innovation, and access to a continuum of recovery-focused therapeutic services. Care options include: inpatient; outpatient; early intervention and prevention; an employee and student assistance program; and case management services. Convenient treatment sites are located throughout the Tampa Bay area. For more information, go to

About BayCare Health System
BayCare is a leading not-for-profit health care system that connects individuals and families to a wide range of services at 14 hospitals and hundreds of other convenient locations throughout the Tampa Bay and central Florida regions. Inpatient and outpatient services include acute care, primary care, imaging, laboratory, behavioral health, home care, and wellness. Our mission is to improve the health of all we serve through community-owned, health care services that set the standard for high-quality, compassionate care. For more information, visit BayCare on the Web at