For the past 50 years, the Bay Area Council on Drugs and Alcohol, or BACODA, has worked to prevent alcohol and substance abuse in 13 southeast Texas counties, including Galveston, Brazoria and Harris counties, through education, referrals to health care providers and other social services.

A closer look

The primary issue in Galveston County, said Director of Coalitions Melissa Igo, is opioid overdoses. In Brazoria County, its victim awareness, she said.

In all counties though, Igo said underaged drinking is a focus for BACODA and its collaborators. These include community resource collaboration groups, or CRCGs, who are a collection of service providers from agencies such as the Gulf Coast Center and the Galveston County Health District.

“The name of the game is changing social norms,” Igo said. “We have collaborated with many stakeholders on recovery oriented systems of care—our CRCGs, our health departments—and are really focusing on mobilizing the community to make them aware of the current trends happening within our communities.”

Why it matters

The nonprofit provides its services to school-aged kids, their parents, and the Bay Area community at-large—where many of the group’s staff have generational roots.

Formerly the chief operating officer, interim Executive Director Sue Roberts said her tenure began with volunteerism over 30 years ago.

“I had two alcoholics in my family. One of them got sober, the other one didn’t,” Roberts said. “[BACODA] was a place where I could get facts, it was a place where I could get some kind of peace.”

Dannielle Meyer, director of communications for the council, said a thread of advocacy and personal experience is woven throughout the team, who also deliver educational materials and resources for mental health.

“There’s some type of personal connection,” Meyer said. “There’s a passion for communities, a passion for health and wellness. ... We are making sure our communities and the people who live in them have every opportunity for success.”

Looking ahead

In August, BACODA will move its office to the Bay Area Service Center of United Way of Greater Houston to be closer to resources, Meyer said.

The nonprofit is also seeking volunteers to help plan its 50th anniversary luncheon at Lakewood Yacht Club set for Nov. 7.

Igo said they are always looking for volunteers to build their coalitions, which seek to increase access and availability, and effect change to policies and regulations through outreach and positive messaging campaigns.