Did you know that alcohol is the most commonly abused substance in the United States? And excessive underage drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 youth deaths each year. These are just two of the many facts brought to light during this year’s Alcohol Awareness Month, which takes place every April to reduce stigma and increase education about alcohol, alcoholism and recovery. Founded and sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), Alcohol Awareness Month began in 1987.
Wrote NCADD’s founder Marty Mann: “Stigma manifests itself in many ways; in false beliefs, such as that alcoholism is a moral problem and alcoholics moral delinquents; or that alcoholism is simply a matter of will power and alcoholics are weaklings…”
This year’s theme “Changing Attitudes: It’s not a rite of passage,” is designed to educate young people, along with their families and communities, about the risks of underage drinking. Through grassroots efforts, NCADD hopes to shift the casual mindset about underage drinking and highlight healthy alternatives and critical recovery resources available to youth.
One of NCADD’s public service announcements urges parents to take an active role in teaching kids about the dangers of alcohol use. The PSA explains that most kids drink because of social pressure or to “fit in” – not just to “have a good time.” What’s more, kids who drink out of boredom or depression are at an increased risk of developing alcohol-related problems later in life.
As part of Alcohol Awareness Month, NCADD also compiled several facts and figures to help spread the message that prevention, intervention, treatment and recovery services are critical to reducing underage drinking. Here are a few:
- Alcohol is the deadliest drug for America’s teenagers: a 16-year old is more likely to die from an alcohol-related problem than any other cause.
- Underage drinking can lead to suicide, homicide, accidental death, violent injury, disrupted families and unwanted pregnancy.
- Young people who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at age 21.
- Underage drinking is linked to 189,000 emergency room visits per year.
- People age 12 to 20 years drink 11 percent of all alcohol consumed in the U.S., more than 90 percent of which is in the form of binge drinking.
- More than 1.6 million young people report driving under the influence of alcohol in the past year.
- Kids who have conversations with their parents about the dangers of alcohol and drug use are 50 percent less likely to use alcohol and drugs than those who don’t have such conversations.
- A supportive family environment is associated with lowered rates of alcohol use for adolescents.
Getting Help for Alcohol Use Disorder
The longer problematic drinking persists, the more serious it becomes in the future. At Family Recovery Specialists, we can work together to create an individualized plan to help your loved one realize his or her potential and ability to live a happy, healthy and alcohol-free lifestyle. To learn more about our substance abuse treatment services, call today: 305-595-7378.