April means time for many things, including Easter, Passover, warmer temperatures, and school vacations, but it is also Alcohol Awareness Month.
Alcohol Awareness Month was initiated in 1987 by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD). Much of the mission of Alcohol Awareness Month is to reduce the stigma associated with alcohol abuse that keeps many individuals and families from seeking help, according to the NCADD. The NCADD web site’s page on Alcohol Awareness Month notes that this year’s theme is a focus on preventing underage drinking, “Healthy Choices, Healthy Communities: Prevent Underage Drinking.”
Other related resources on the NCADD site: an alcohol abuse self-test for teens, with questions such as “Do you use alcohol or other drugs to build self-confidence?” and “Have you lost friends since you started using alcohol or other drugs?”
Healthfinder.gov, a web site sponsored by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, features Alcohol Awareness Month in its National Health Observance Toolkit for April.
Healthfinder.gov highlights warning signs of alcohol abuse, which include:
-Drinking alone when you feel sad or angry
-Absence from or lateness to work due to drinking
-Drinking to a point that worries your family
-Forgetting what you did while drinking
-Suffering from headaches or a hangover after drinking
The site also provides a sample media announcement about Alcohol Awareness Month that can be used in a newsletter or listserve. Seeking more statistics? A pdf of “talking points” for Alcohol Awareness Month available via the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides facts about alcohol-impaired driving. For example, more than 10,000 people were killed in alcohol-related driving accidents in the United States in 2010.
And check out the downloadable infographic on the link between alcohol abuse and an increased risk for prescription drug abuse. The graphic and details from researchers at the University of Michigan are available at drugsdb.com. The data are particularly relevant to this year’s focus on underage drinking: they show that prescription drug abuse has increased significantly in recent years among young adults aged 18 to 24 years, although rates of drinking and alcohol abuse have remained relatively steady.