Alcohol Awareness Month
Alcohol Awareness Month, commemorated every April, was founded in 1987 by the
National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD). Its goal is to increase
public awareness and understanding aimed at reducing the stigma that too often prevents
individuals and families from seeking help. This year’s theme is “Help for Today – Hope for
Tomorrow.” During Alcohol Awareness Month, NCADD and local organizations reach out to
bring community members information about alcohol and alcoholism as a chronic, progressive
disease, potentially fatal if untreated, and genetically predisposed. The disease of alcoholism is
a family disease, not a moral weakness. It is treatable and people can and do recover. In fact,
millions of individuals and family members are living lives in long-term recovery from alcoholism.
Visit from SAMHSA
On February 15, the Council was honored to receive a personal visit from Pamela Hyde,
Administrator of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).
SAMHSA is the top mental health/substance abuse agency under the U.S. Department of
Health & Human Services (HHS). Ms. Hyde was joined by Michael Duffy, Regional SAMHSA
Administrator, and Marjorie Petty, Regional HHS Director. Council Executive Director-Debbie
Meripolski, Director of Prevention Programs-Stacey Davis, and Director of HIV Programs-Sonny
Blake, met with our esteemed guests over lunch and enjoyed the opportunity to tell them about
the Council’s rich history and extensive network of prevention and intervention activities. After
a tour of the Council offices, Sonny and Debbie joined our guests for a community roundtable
discussion at The Resource Center of Dallas. The Council is fortunate to have a five-year Drug
Free Communities Support Program grant provided by SAMHSA.
Accidental Drug Overdose Deaths on the Rise
The number of deadly drug overdoses in the United States increased for the 11th consecutive
year, according to new government data reported by The Partnership at Drugfree.org.
A total of 38,329 people died of drug overdoses in 2010. More than 22,000 of the deaths that
year involved prescription drugs (57%). Of those, three-quarters were due to painkillers such as
OxyContin and Percocet, according to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS). NCHS
noted that more than 74 percent of deaths due to prescription drugs were accidental.
You can help prevent prevention drug misuse and abuse by properly disposing of unused or
expired medication. On Saturday, April 27, from 10:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m. you can participate in
the Prescription Drug Take Back Initiative by dropping off your medications for safe disposal
at 11 area locations. The Council continues to work collaboratively with the Dallas Area Drug
Prevention Partnership, the Dallas Police Department, the Dallas ISD Police, University Park
Police Department, 12th Step Ministry and the Drug Enforcement Administration to reduce
access to and excess of prescription drugs. See www.drugfreedallas.org for more information
and to check out the list of the locations to find the one closest to you.
The Council is often a pioneer and forerunner in the substance abuse field for the state and
country. The Council recognized addiction as a disease eight years before the American Medical
Association. The Council helped establish and provided the inaugural leadership for the Texas
Commission on Alcoholism (now the Texas Department of State Health Services, Mental Health
and Substance Abuse Services).
Over the decades, The Council has responded to increasing community needs, focusing on
larger target populations and widening the scope of collaborative, evidence-based initiatives and
services. The work has received accolades and awards, coverage by national publications, and
inclusion in the Congressional Record. But most importantly, since opening its doors in 1946,
millions of North Texans have been reached, changed and/or saved.
The Council trained or provided direct services to 29,686 people in 2012 and provided
resources/materials for another 121,197 people. In addition to the more than 150,000
individuals touched directly, The Council reaches many thousands more in two ways: 1) Public
awareness campaigns in the form of public service announcements, press conferences,
billboards, community events, press conferences and media coverage, and 2) Education of
teachers, counselors, first-responders and parents, who pass on their skills and knowledge to
Saving Teenage Lives
The 12th Annual BuzzFree PROMises Dress & Tux Giveaway held on February 16 was
another big success. More than 300 students and 100 parents from 12 area school
districts attended alcohol and other drug education classes, enjoyed a fashion show,
shared a tasty lunch, and signed a pledge to be alcohol and other drug-free on prom
night. At the end of the day, students were rewarded with free prom attire, all donated
by local businesses and individuals.
Students said: "It was more than a chance to get a dress." "It was amazing, fun and
educational." "I learned alcohol can alter the way your brain develops as a teenager."
Parents said: "I can't thank you enough for the all the time and effort you put into this
event! Both the educational aspects as well as making them (the girls) feel like 'princesses.'" "Thank you, please
don't stop supporting the community."
|Rhonda Sargent Chambers, 2013 Event Chair, and happy prom-goers
||Allen Fuqua, Council Board member, and students talk about safe and healthy behaviors
With deepest gratitude to our major sponsors
CALL 214.522.8600 FOR
SUBSTANCE ABUSE HELPLINE