Thursday, April 17, 2014

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

     Alcohol is a fun and wonderful thing when kept under control, but the misuse or abuse of alcohol like so many other things we encounter in our lives can be disastrous.   Our young people are very vulnerable to the peer pressure and the euphoria of a good buzz, this is something that can lead them down the road to disaster.  This Alcohol Awareness Month is the perfect time to put a little bit of effort into informing the people around us of the perils of alcohol abuse.

The Tragedy of Alcohol Use by Young People


     The month of April is designated Alcohol Awareness Month as founded by The National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence (NCADD) in 1987. 

     Since the beginning years of this month-long event, many other organizations have joined with NCADD in a collaborative effort to stem the tide of underage drinking, and adult alcohol abuse, through preventative education and awareness events; to bring about further awareness of this most serious and pressing problem within our nation. 

     The Centers for Disease Control (CDC), The National Institute on Alcohol and Alcoholism (NIAA), Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC), and many other organizations have joined in this effort over the past 27 years to bring about awareness and prevention of the use of alcohol by youth, and abuse of alcohol by adults.Alcohol Awareness Month. 

     I know what some of you are thinking. "every month is something month.   A month for this and a month for that." But let me explain the profound wisdom of the founders of this eventful month, and I know, because I was part of that first Alcohol Awareness Month. The month of April is most significant primarily because it is when many youth will experience their first drink of alcohol. It is also significant due to the Easter/Spring holidays where there will be many festivities involving drinking (can you say "Spring Break"?). And, it signifies the end of the school year in the coming month, a reason for young people to "celebrate." But, Alcohol Awareness Month not only draws attention to alcohol use by our youth, but the Abuse of alcohol by our adult population (for Young People under the age of 21 the term "use" is given, the "use" is illegal). 

     Alcohol Awareness Month empathizes, in the words of the founders, "Increased public awareness and understanding, to reduce stigma, and encourages local communities to focus on alcohol use, alcohol abuse, and alcoholism and alcohol related issues." This year, above all other past year's events, "highlights the important public health issue of underage drinking, a problem with devastating individual, family, and community consequences." 

     We have learned over the years that Alcohol use by young people is extremely dangerous, both to themselves and our communities. It is directly associated with traffic deaths, suicide, other directed violent acts, school failure and dropouts, alcohol overdose (alcohol poisoning), unsafe sexual practices, and behavioral problems. Highway statistics tell us that annually over 6,500 individuals under the age of 21 die from alcohol-related accidents and many thousands are injured.


     Talk to you kids and younger friends and let them know that while most of the adult world still takes a drink now and then, we are trying to avoid the binge drinking or over indulging.  There is plenty of time after you are 21 to experiment with liquors, wait until you are not surrounded by so much peer pressure to be stupid.  ;o)