UTPA collaborates in addiction recovery conference and rally Sept.17-18
Posted: 09/09/2004
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The University of Texas-Pan American Addiction Studies Project in partnership with the Association for the Advancement of Mexican Americans (AAMA)-Edinburg, RGV Council Inc., the Hidalgo County Health Department and the UTPA Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program will host a conference and rally Sept. 17-18 in observance of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's (SAMHSA) 15th Annual National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month.

The "Access to Recovery Conference" will be held Sept. 17, 8 a.m.-5 p.m. in the UTPA Engineering Building Auditorium. Registration will open at 7:30 a.m. Opening the conference will be State District Judge Rose Guerra-Reyna speaking on the need for recovery options in our community. Other addiction/recovery specialists will address topics from current treatment options to substance abuse and the family.

On Saturday, Sept. 18, the "Access to Recovery Rally" will be held at the Edinburg Baseball Stadium. The rally, scheduled from 11 a.m.-3 p.m., is open to the public and will feature booths from alcohol and drug addiction recovery related agencies and organizations and offer free information, giveaways, food, drinks and entertainment.

"Our focus this year is improving clients' access to recovery by looking at the best treatment options available, the impact of treatment and how the community can improve access to sources for recovery," said Judith Guetzow, UTPA Addictions Studies Project coordinator. She said attendance to the free conference can provide up to five continuing education units for professionals.

Guetzow said she hoped both events would assist in educating professionals in the field about new ideas in treatment for clients and inform associated agencies to all the referral sources located in the Rio Grande Valley.

"We want to create a united front by all the related agencies in the Valley involved in alcohol and drug addition recovery but also renew the enthusiasm for the need of recovery programs in our communities," said John Rustick, AAMA senior office administrator and conference/rally committee member.

Guetzow said with recent funding cuts that have occurred for these types of programs, there is a renewed emphasis on the importance of collaboration among the agencies.

"These Recovery Month events also celebrate overcoming the stigma and barriers to recovery. We hope to highlight the contributions of our current treatment providers in the Valley and promote the message that recovery from substance abuse in all its forms is possible," she said.

SAMHSA, an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, which promotes September as National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Recovery Month, was created to focus attention, programs and funding on improving the lives of people with or at risk for mental and substance abuse disorders.

For more information or to register, contact Guetzow at 956/318-5240 or via email at