On behalf of the Bay Area Council on Drugs and Alcohol — Galveston County Community Coalition, I want to take this opportunity to give a big thank you to all of our community partners, sponsors and attendees in helping us make our 2019 National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week — Interactive Health and Safety Fair such a huge success.

Over 300 students and 50 teachers from middle and high schools and community colleges participated in 15 interactive, hands on, educational exhibits geared toward increasing their prevention knowledge on substance abuse, mental health, traffic and coastal safety.

The event opened with a brief welcome from Chief Joe Stanton of the Texas City Police Department and myself. Other remarks included Jay Guerrero of Sen. John Cornyn’s office and Brian Marquis with the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Dr. Kathryn Cunningham, executive director of the University of Texas Medical Branch’s Center for Addiction Research, shared a brief presentation on the teen brain and addiction and helped to share some facts versus myths with the students.

Whitney Weathersby, community liaison with the Houston Council on Drug Abuse, and Dennis Sholler, Ph.D. candidate at the medical center’s Center for Addiction Research, then led all the students in a fully interactive Drug IQ Challenge where they were quizzed and provided the right answers through individual clickers to dispel the myths around substance abuse. April Rai, of the National Organization of Youth Safety, rounded up all the youth participants, and they were off to their stations.

We’d especially like to thank the following organizations and agencies for their continued involvement in our prevention efforts: Texas City Police Department, city of Texas City, National Institute on Drug Abuse, National Organization of Youth Safety, UTMB Center for Addiction Research, Galveston Restaurant Group and Panera Bread.

Through the countless smiles and laughs experienced by youth and their mentors and educators, this event was evidence of the measurable outcomes that our collaborative outreach and education can accomplish. Our coalition and its partners are committed to changing the way our communities think about substance use, misuse and prevention and look forward to future collaborations with new and existing local, regional, statewide and national partners.

Mary Beth Trevino is the coalition coordinator for the Galveston County Community Coalition.

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