Drinking too much alcohol increases people’s risk of injuries, violence, drowning, liver disease, and some types of cancer. The good news? We can all do our part to prevent alcohol misuse or abuse. Each April since 1987, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) sponsors NCADD Alcohol Awareness Month to increase public awareness and understanding, reduce stigma and encourage local communities to focus on alcoholism and alcohol-related issues and to raise awareness about alcohol abuse and take action to prevent it, both at home and in the community.
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 as alcohol and drugs enter the picture, parents are faced with a unique set of challenges. They can simply sit back and hope their kids will “get through it,” or they can take an active role in learning about alcohol and drugs and helping their kids do the same.
When a family member, caregiver, or friend abuses alcohol, they are not the only ones who may be adversely affected. Children of parents who abuse alcohol are at a greater risk for trauma including verbal, physical, and sexual abuse, and neglect. Children of Alcoholics (COAs) exhibit more symptoms of depression and anxiety, and have lower self-esteem than do children who do not have an alcoholic caregiver. According to the February 2012 issue of Data Spotlight (from the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality), an annual average of 7.5 million children under 18 live with a parent who had an alcohol use disorder.
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.,/p>
An integral part of Alcohol Awareness Month is Alcohol-Free Weekend (April 1-3, 2016), 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 seventy-two-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 Affiliate and other alcoholism agencies to learn more about alcoholism and its early symptoms.