In 1946, only 97 hospitals in the United States accepted patients for the treatment of alcoholism. Texas had no alcoholism treatment facilities, no counseling services for families of addicted people, no help for adults suffering from alcoholism and no information for teens on the brink of taking their first drink.
Tremendous change occurred that year, when nearly 1,000 people attended a lecture by Ms. Marty Mann, a pioneer in Alcoholics Anonymous. Her speech about alcoholism and the organization she founded, the National Committee for Education on Alcoholism (now called the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence), inspired concerned Houstonians.
Resolved to increase public understanding of alcoholism as a disease—with potential for recovery— the Houston Committee for Education on Alcoholism (now called The Council on Alcohol and Drugs Houston) was formed. Among the original 50 founders of the Houston Committee for Education on Alcoholism were: R. E. “Bob” Smith; Oveta Culp Hobby; Alva Carlton; Milton R. Underwood; Fred R. Lummis, M.D.; Bishop Clinton S. Quin; Mrs. Edwin Rice Brown, Jr.; Mrs. F. Jack Greenwood; Frank C. Guthrie; Ralph Schnitzer, Sr.; and Marguerite Johnston.
The Houston Committee for Education on Alcoholism opened an information center at the Merchants Exchange Building in downtown Houston. The center provided counseling, education and referrals regarding alcohol abuse and alcoholism and was a clearinghouse for local treatment and 12-step programs. In its first year, the center assisted 56 people.
Today, The Council touches the lives of approximately 365,000 people each year.