Be aware of alcohol issues
April is the 27th annual National Alcohol Awareness Month. The founder of Alcohol Awareness Month, The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence Inc., has named this year’s theme “Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow.”
No substance of abuse is more widely used and abused by America’s youth than alcohol, making alcoholism and alcohol-related problems the No. 1 public health problem in the United States.
Addressing this issue requires a sustained and cooperative effort between parents, schools, colleges, community leaders and our youth. The widespread prevalence of underage drinking and the negative consequences it creates remain a stubborn and destructive problem despite decades of efforts to combat it.
Yet, there are four areas that have proven to be effective in prevention of this problem:
- Curtailing the availability of alcohol to underage populations.
- Consistent enforcement of existing laws and regulations regarding alcohol purchase.
- Changing cultural misconceptions and behaviors about alcohol use through education.
- Expanded access to treatment and recovery support for adolescents and their families.
But time is running out. Studies reveal that alcohol consumption by adolescents results in brain damage – possibly permanent – and impairs intellectual development.
So, let’s get started providing “Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow.” We can’t afford to wait any longer. Talk about alcohol use with your family. Is it affecting your health, finances, relationships or lifestyle?
DOREAN PAGE, prevention educator,
HFM Prevention Council