Each April since 1987, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. has sponsored Alcohol Awareness Month to increase public awareness and understanding, reduce stigma and encourage local communities to focus on alcoholism and alcohol-related issues.
With this year’s theme, “For the Health of It: Early Education on Alcoholism and Addiction,” the month of April will be filled with local, state and national events aimed at educating people about the treatment and prevention of alcoholism, particularly among our youth, and the benefits of providing early education to give kids a better understanding of the impact that alcohol can have on their lives.
Local NCADD affiliates, as well as schools, colleges, churches and other community organizations, will sponsor a host of activities that create awareness and encourage individuals and families to get help for alcohol-related problems.
Alcohol use by young people is extremely dangerous, both to themselves and to society, and is directly associated with traffic fatalities, violence, suicide, educational failure, alcohol overdose, unsafe sex and other problem behaviors, even for those who may never develop a dependence or addiction.
Adolescence is a time of heightened risk taking and young people may not be fully prepared to anticipate all the consequences of drinking alcohol, such as swigging drinks to “celebrate” a special occasion or being in a car with a driver who has been drinking.
Alcohol is the number one drug of choice for America’s youth and is more likely to kill young people than all illegal drugs combined.
Reducing underage drinking is critical to securing a healthy future for America’s youth and requires a cooperative effort from parents, schools, community organizations, business leaders, government agencies, the entertainment industry, alcohol manufacturers/retailers and young people themselves.
“Underage drinking is a complex issue,” says Andrew Pucher, president and chief executive officer of NCADD, “one that can only be solved through a sustained and cooperative effort. As a nation, we need to wake up to the reality that for some, alcoholism and addiction develop at a young age and that intervention, treatment and recovery support are essential for them and their families. We can’t afford to wait any longer.”
An integral part of Alcohol Awareness Month is Alcohol-Free Weekend (April 3–5), which is designed to raise public awareness about the use of alcohol and how it may be affecting individuals, families and the community. During this 72-hour period, NCADD extends an open invitation to all Americans, young and old, to participate in three alcohol-free days and to use this time to contact local NCADD affiliates and other alcoholism agencies to learn more about alcoholism and its early symptoms.
For more information about NCADD, underage drinking, Alcohol Awareness Month and Alcohol-Free Weekend, visit www.ncadd.org.