In partnership with the Massachusetts Prevention Alliance, the Rotary Club of Newton hosted the premiere launch of the new Rotary Addiction Prevention Seminar: Engage the Community. This three-hour multi-district event supported by 7910 District Governor, Karin Gaffney and 7930 District Governor Dave Gardner, brought together 75 stakeholders representing public health, public safety, recovery and grief supporters, family members, clergy, medicine, treatment and private business to learn about a new Rotary Toolkit designed to engage communities in a discovery and learning experience about the driving forces of addiction that includes brain science and big business profit-driven strategies. The event’s featured guest was Dr. Bertha Madras, of Harvard Medical School, an appointed member of the White House Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis.

Using short educational media segments, guided discussion focused on tobacco, marijuana, addiction science, alcohol and opioids. Participants learned that by understanding the key drivers of large population addiction, we can begin to address the problem way upstream and implement primary prevention measures that delay onset of drug use, reduce the rates of addiction, and save tremendous costs to society. Using the Rotary Toolkit designed to connect stakeholders with public health expertise on primary prevention, participants experienced how to implement the model and engage their own communities and organizations for shared learning on understanding the driving forces of addiction.

The Rotary Toolkit on Community Engagement is the first in a series developed for Rotary Clubs to convene local stakeholders for community-based education on preventing substance abuse and addiction at the local level. The Rotary Addiction Prevention Seminar is a new partnership initiative between the International Rotary Action Group for Addiction Prevention and Edventi, a prevention education curricula company. The model was developed for replication and scalability across communities and regions through Rotary. Rotary Clubs are powerful, central civic groups thriving in the majority of communities throughout the United States, and Rotarians are eager to address this humanitarian issue locally across the country. The model will be featured at the Rotary Convention in Toronto in June. The toolkit has been made available to Clubs to purchase here:


To learn more about the initiative and find out how to purchase and implement the toolkit, email Heidi Heilman at Or Paul Sullivan of the Rotary Club of Newton at: