While national figures show a downward trend in the number of young people who use alcohol, alcohol remains the number one drug of choice for America’s youth, and is more likely to kill young people than all illegal drugs combined. That’s why it’s important to get involved in Alcohol Awareness Month, observed annually throughout April.
Sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), Alcohol Awareness Month encourages community organizations to host events that increase public awareness and educate people about the treatment and prevention of alcoholism.
The month-long campaign kicks off this week with its Alcohol-Free Weekend to raise public awareness about the use of alcohol and how it may be affecting individuals, families, businesses and communities. During Alcohol-Free Weekend, NCADD extends an open invitation to all Americans to engage in three alcohol-free days. If the Easter Bunny’s chocolate isn’t enough and one craves alcohol this weekend, then the council encourages people to seek help.
NCADD Alcohol Awareness Month encourages organizations and communities to reach out to the public with information about alcohol use and alcoholism as a preventable disease and encourages people who are already addicted to seek treatment.
This year’s theme, “For the Health of It: Early Education on Alcoholism and Addiction,” can be incorporated into coalitions’ April outreach activities and campaigns.
NCADD has several helpful resources on its website. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s (SAMHSA) underage drinking prevention campaign, ‘Talk. They Hear You,’ has talking points and tools for coalitions, parents and caregivers so they can start talking to their children early—as early as 9 years old—about the dangers of alcohol.
In addition, CADCA has several resources to help coalitions educate the community about the dangers of excessive and underage drinking and to help reduce alcohol outlet density:
• Teens and Alcohol: A Bad Mix Developed in partnership with NIAAA, this video highlights research on underage drinking and includes steps that communities can take to tackle this problem.
• Regulating Alcohol Outlet Density: An Action Guide Developed by CADCA in partnership with the Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth (CAMY) at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Healthoutlines, this publication outlines available evidence-
based community prevention strategies that decrease the consequences associated with alcohol outlet density in a given geographic area.
• College and Drinking: A Risky Curriculum Video Developed in partnership with NIAAA, this video highlights the current research on excessive drinking/binge drinking on college campuses.
Does your coalition have a block party planned? How about a town hall meeting on underage drinking? Have your Tweets and Facebook posts ready to go? Share what your coalition is doing for Alcohol Awareness Month this month on CADCA’s Facebook page.