Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse

By: Richard Allen Burns

Type: General Entry

Published: October 1, 1995

Updated: August 13, 2020

The Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse emerged in 1985, after the legislature consolidated the duties of the drug abuse programs of the Texas Department of Community Affairs with those programs administered by the former Texas Commission on Alcoholism, established in 1953. The agency is mandated to administer programs for the prevention, intervention, and treatment of chemical dependency and compulsive gambling in cooperation with federal, state, and local governments, as well as with organizations and individuals, and to provide assistance for statewide and community-based providers. In addition, the agency addresses issues relating to substance abusers who have or are at risk of contracting HIV and works with the state's criminal justice system to organize treatment alternatives to prison and in-prison chemical dependency treatment services. The former Texas Commission on Alcoholism was composed of six members, each appointed by the governor and serving six-year terms. While one member was required to be a physician, at least three were to have had previous experience with problems associated with alcoholism. The initial duties of the commission included ongoing studies of alcoholism; administering educational programs; fostering ties with other state and local agencies, as well as with educational, medical, welfare, and law enforcement groups; receiving and disbursing federal funds for alcoholism programs; certifying educational programs for drunk-driving offenders; and licensing alcoholism health care facilities. However, because the legislature did not appropriate funds for its operation, the office closed after eighteen months. By 1955 funds for alcoholic treatment were available only for the Board of Texas State Hospitals and Special Schools. Not until 1957 did the legislature appropriate funds for the commission itself, and the commission's first annual report soon followed. By the late 1960s and early 1970s the Texas Commission on Alcoholism had four divisions: Administration, Education and Training, Rehabilitation/Industrial Program, and Field Services. In 1971 Governor Preston Smith designated the commission as the state agency to comply with the federal Comprehensive Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism Prevention, Treatment, and Rehabilitation Act of 1970, resulting in the first state plan to prevent, treat, and control alcohol abuse and alcoholism. The commission subsequently designated one agency in each of the twenty-four state planning regions as Regional Alcoholism Authorities. Additionally, a thirty-four to fifty-member State Alcoholism Advisory Council was established to serve the commission as voluntary advisors. With the dissolution of the Regional Alcoholism Authorities, the Statewide Advisory Council became a forum through which the commission listens to representatives from all areas of the state. By the 1990s the membership in the Statewide Advisory Council consisted of regional, ex-officio and at-large members, ensuring that all of Texas is represented along not only geographic, but also ethnic, racial, and gender lines. After its concerns increased in 1985, when the agency was renamed the Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse, the number of commissioners also increased to nine, and their duties included not only the previous ones but also the duties of the drug abuse programs of the Texas Department of Community Affairs, which is now a division of the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs. Toward the end of the 1980s the agency's staff included more than sixty-five employees organized into five divisions: administration, program services, program compliance, fiscal/administrative services, and grants management and computer systems.

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Richard Allen Burns, “Texas Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 07, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/texas-commission-on-alcohol-and-drug-abuse.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

October 1, 1995
August 13, 2020