History Convergence Results In Council on Alcoholism Establishment!



Marty Mann is scarcely a household word today, yet she is arguably one of the most influential people of the 20th century.
Marty's life was like a blazing fire, but was nearly extinguished by personal tragedy
and degradation. She rose to a triumphant recovery that powered a historic, unparalleled change in our society.
Through her vision and leadership, the attitude of America toward alcoholism was changed from a moral issue to one of public health. This was a tremendous shift, especially considering America's long temperance history that culminated in the Prohibition Amendment of 1920.
Marty was able to accomplish these things despite numerous, very difficult setbacks along the way, any one of which might have overcome a lesser person. She would be the first to claim that her sobriety, found through Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) in its very earliest days, was the most important factor in her success.

Five years after she found AA, Marty had a dream. Her vision was to educate the whole country about alcoholism. She was obsessed with eliminating the historic stigma attached to chronic inebriation. She joined forces with the Yale School of Alcohol Studies (now at Rutgers), where early significant scientific research into alcoholism was underway. Eventually her nationwide educational efforts led to the creation of a separate organization, the National Council on Alcoholism, now the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence or NCADD (http://ncadd.org/).  NCADD has been this country's most important educational, referral source for alcoholics, their families and communities all across the country.

For most of her 24 years as director of NCA, she maintained a speaking schedule of over 200 talks annually. The purpose of Marty's talks was to establish local volunteer groups in every major city. These affiliates of NCA would carry out NCA's mission to provide education, information and referral for their respective communities.



In the spring of 1946 the late Judge Homer Walsh of Syracuse Police Court called a meeting of about eight people to see if some means might be devised to effectively deal with and help the alcoholic who found himself before the Court.  This was the formalized step of putting into creation a plan that had been developing in the mind of the Judge for about eight years.  He was deeply concerned over the fact that through Court passed hundreds of sick people – sufferers of the disease, alcoholism.  There were no facilities for their treatment.  All the judge could do was sentence to Onondaga County Penitentiary where they received no rehabilitation and were frequently before the bench again on the same day as their release from the Penitentiary.  A study had been made prior to this first meeting and it had been estimated that the incarceration of alcoholics in Onondaga County cost in the neighborhood of $100,000 a year.  It was decided to form a committee to tackle the problem of alcoholism in Onondaga County.  This group began to meet regularly.

The first efforts were directed at self education on the problem.  The majority of the group had never heard of the Yale Clinic or the then called National Committee for Education on Alcoholism.  Minutes of these early meetings are sparse, but the following quotes indicate the spirit of the Onondaga Council on Alcoholism which prevails to this day.  Speaking of candidates for directorship of the new agency, “One must not be afraid to revise the list now and then to weed out the scared and the timid”.  “There must be a spirit of consecration on the part of everyone connected with this work.”  “The seed of the idea must be planted in the minds of prominent men and women in the community.  There will be responses from people from the most unexpected sources.”  So spoke the founders of the Onondaga Council on Alcoholism.

Sixty-two Years of Community Service

For sixty-two years the Onondaga Council on Alcoholism/Addictions, Inc. (OCAA), d.b.a. Prevention Network has been implementing and supporting strategies that prevent addictions and address related concerns.  Prevention Network has assumed the role of advocate, educator and prevention developer for over six decades.  Much of its historical record reflects the growth of prevention services in Onondaga County, some of which are:

  • 1946  Judge Homer Walsh calls meeting to see if something can be done to help alcoholics appearing before the court.
  • 1949  OCA incorporates as Onondaga Committee on Alcoholism.
  • 1951  OCA used radio station WFBL to air “The Lonesome Road” as part of the agency’s educational programs.

    OCA incorporates as Onondaga Committee on Alcoholism.

    Achieved major organizational objectives when two hospitals opened doors to alcoholics.
  • 1954  Published OCA sponsored study “The Alcoholic Offender & the Community,” gaining local and national recognition.
  • 1958  Spearheaded by OCA’s Homeless Alcoholics Committee, Syracuse Brick House is established.
  • 1961  Changed name to Onondaga Council on Alcoholism.
  • 1963  Co-sponsored “Light in the Darkness” with WHEN-TV, a locally produced documentary.
  • 1964  Aided in opening a diagnostic clinic for alcoholism and mental illness at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church.
  • 1965  Developed a program for orientation about alcoholism and it’s incidence in industry (implemented within Crucible Steel, New Process Gear, and Syracuse China).
  • 1967  Produced alcoholism program for adults and children at Dunbar Center.
  • 1976  OCA closes it’s doors due to lack of funding.
  • 1978  Reorganization of OCA under leadership of Tom Goulet.
  • 1979  OCA establishes first EAP in the County.
  • 1983  OCA Training program is established.
  • 1984  Chemical People Task Force established.
  • 1986  First Teen Institute retreat conducted at Minnowbrook.
  • 1989  OCA is nominated by the NYS Division of Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse for nationalaward recognizing“its comprehensive approach to prevention…”
  • 1989  24 hour hotline is established 472-DRUG
  • 1990  OCA becomes OCAA, Onondaga Council on Alcoholism/Addictions, Inc. to be inclusive of all addictions.
  • 1991  OCAA supports the Eckerd Drug Quiz Show.
  • 1993  P.O.W.E.R. Drug/Alcohol Education Program initiated at Jamesville Correctional Facility.
  • 1998  Organizes the community around September “National Recovery Month.”

    Becomes lead sponsor of the Parent-to-Parent Program.

    Developed an educational component to the Victim’s Impact Panel (VIP).

    OCAA accepts “Prevention Network” as the new “doing business as” name, to more accurately reflect their scope of community services.

    Development of 1st Home Studies program for prevention & treatment credentialing.
  • 2000 Moved to 1050 West Genesee Street, Syracuse, NY 13204.

    Initiated electronic system of Intranet, Internet, file server and file sharing for efficiency.

    Great Kids Make Great Role Models summer parks program started.

    Americore training contract established for participants entering treatment field.
  • 2001 MATRIX replaces POWER at Jamesville Correctional Facility, for addicted inmates.

    Reality Check program started to address big tobacco targeting youth.

    Assessment and Referral services establish targeting TANF applicants at DSS.

    Gambling information & Counseling starts providing Onondaga County services out of Prevention Network offices.
  • 2002 Launch of website: http://www.preventionnetwork.info

    OASAS credentialing training contract established with Cicatelli.

    Lost MATRIX, with demonstrated reduction in recidivism rate, to country budget cuts.
  • 2003  Sisters Talking to Sisters program launched to support area women.

    Guiding Good Choices program offered as a parenting training.

    OASAS approved the Counselor-in-Training (CIT) program, a 350 clock-hour approved curriculum for treatment and prevention professionals.
  • 2004  Active link for addiction services on Onondaga County Department of Mental Health “Network of Care”found at: http://onondaga.ny.networkofcare.org

    Our professional training division (OCAAT) was the 2004 NYS recipient of the “Award of Program Excellence in Addiction Education and Training”.

    Staff representation on the national Teen Institute Board of Directors
  • 2005  Tobacco Control Reality Check program expanded into Cayuga County.

    Strong shift to environmental prevention strategies, augmenting existing programs.
  • 2006  The SQUAD (Students Questioning Underage Drinking) reached out to over 2,000 seventh graders with a peer-led presentation and won a state-wide recognition award for a radio PSA it produced for the NYS Traffic Safety Bureau.

    1st SUMMIT was held bringing together over 200 area professionals for networking, discussions and workshops to combat underage drinking in central New York.
  • 2007  Introduction of the electronic reporting system for OASAS know as PARIS.

    Initiated a new evidenced-based program (EBP) targeting parents, “Parenting Wisely”. 

    Agency presented, by request, at state-wide Drinking Driver Program conference to present the methods our program uses to work collaboratively across county systems, seen as a model for best practices.
  • 2008  Invited by OASAS to present our environmental strategy campaign (underage drinking) at state-wide prevention conference in Saratoga Springs and state-wide treatment conference in NYC.

    Awarded funding for thirteen county Central Region - Prevention Resource Center, one of only two awards state-wide.

    “You Can’t Afford to be Clueless” was produced and released, a video targeting parents about the prominence of teen drinking and drug use.
  • 2009   Launched new website http://www.PreventionNetworkCNY.org Complete PC and file server system upgrade, paid in part by Community Foundation.

    OASAS funded Youth Gambling program started.

    Peer Leadership Youth Development program started.

    Moved to 906 Spencer Street – 15 year lease.
  • 2010  Three self-sustaining programs (Drinking Driver Program, Onondaga Council on Acoholism/Addictions Training and Victim Impact Panel) continued to help support all agency prevention efforts.

    Honor the Code  was established and endorsed by area school districts.

    Sreening and Referral Services at DSS evaluated 3,803 clients.

    6,043 community calls were taken to assist individuals on a number of AOD issues.