April is Alcohol Awareness Month

Alcohol Awareness Month, founded by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) in 1987, occurs every April. Addiction treatment providers across the nation work to raise public awareness about alcoholism and to de-stigmatize it.

Although the stigma associated with alcoholism has improved since the 1980s, there is still much work to be done to reduce the negative public impression of what being “alcoholic” entails that discourages many from seeking the alcoholism treatment that they need. More than 8.5% of Americans over the age of 18 suffer from alcohol disorders and many have yet to seek addiction treatment.

Famous alcoholics like Betty Ford and movies depicting all walks of life suffering from alcohol abuse disorders have helped reduce the shame and dishonor associated with being an alcoholic. However, a lot more work needs to be done to help youth, middle aged and elderly alike to seek treatment. Some reasons of the reluctance in seeking help include losing professional stature, being shamed in one’s community or feeling socially alienated from friends or family who drink.

The theme of this year’s Alcohol Awareness Month is “Help for Today. Hope for Tomorrow” with a specific focus on how alcoholism and alcohol related problems impact young people and the children that compose our future. A total of 25% of children in the US are exposed to alcoholism in their families. Also, alcohol is the number one drug of choice for American youth, and is reported by NCADD to be more likely to kill young people than all illegal drugs combined.

Other statistics that shed light on the enormity of the problem of alcoholism among youth and young adults include:

  • More than 6,500 youth under the age of 21 die each year from injuries related to alcohol.
  • Over 1,700 college students in the US are killed each year because of alcohol related injuries.
  • Everyday 7,000 kids in the US under the age of 16 take their first drink and those who take their first drink before the age of 15 are 4 times more likely to develop a drinking problem than those who wait until they are 20 to drink.

Alcohol Awareness Month is purposefully in April because it is a time when youth are often exposed to alcohol and peer pressure to drink. Social gatherings from prom to high school and college graduation often involve alcohol use and abuse. Thousands of organizations and addiction treatment providers will work to raise awareness and educate people about prevention and treatment of alcoholism while encouraging people to make smart choices when it comes to use of alcohol throughout the month of April.

Harmony Foundation addresses problem drinking among youth by offering an addiction treatment track for young adults who need rehab. For more information on our program that helps empower young adults to stay alcohol free, please click here.