Alcohol Awareness Month is a national public health awareness campaign sponsored by the National Council for Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD). It takes place every April. Alcohol Awareness Month was developed in order to increase awareness and understanding of the causes and treatment of one of our nation’s top public health problems: alcoholism. Established in 1987, alcohol awareness month allows communities to focus on spreading awareness and reducing the stigma associated with alcohol addiction. Observance of this awareness campaign also highlights the need for education on the dangers of unsafe alcohol consumptions.
Alcohol use statistics compiled by The National Survey of Drug Use and Health Data in 2018 found:
- Over 14 million Americans ages 18 and older had AUD (Alcohol Use Disorder).
- Over 414,000 adolescents ages 12 to 17 had AUD.
- Over 26 percent of those surveyed engaged in binge drinking the month prior to the survey.
- Alcohol-impaired driving fatalities accounted for 31% of all driving fatalities.
While overuse of alcohol can cause physical and mental harm to drinkers of any age, alcohol use can be especially damaging to the adolescent developing brain and may cause permanent impairment.
Statistics often refer to the thousands of people who die each year from alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents, but misuse of alcohol also contributes to sexual assaults, domestic and other violence, drownings, suicide, falls, and overdose deaths.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism warns that high intensity or binge drinking is an emerging trend. Those who engage in binge drinking are many times more likely to be admitted to an emergency room and more likely to die from excessive drinking than those who do not binge drink.
Education is the key to reducing the devastation that excessive alcohol use causes to individuals, families, the community, and society at large. Alcohol Awareness Month seeks to diffuse the myths about alcoholism and to increase understanding of the disease.
Anyone can participate in Alcohol Awareness Month initiatives and everyone benefits from learning more about public health awareness campaigns. As noted above alcohol use is very prevalent in our nation. The effects of alcohol and alcohol use disorders reach everyone. Organizations such as schools, healthcare facilities, general practitioners, community coalitions, faith-based organizations, law enforcement, substance abuse treatment organizations and more can participate in alcohol awareness month campaigns. Individuals such as youth or parents can also participate in these initiatives. According to NCADD, local, state, and national events can be held to educate people about the treatment and prevention of alcoholism, particularly among our youth. Parents can play a very important role in giving kids a better understanding of the impact that alcohol can have on their lives.
This alcohol awareness month toolkit has been developed to help any interested party, plan and implement awareness initiatives that can be held during Alcohol Awareness Month. The goal of this toolkit is to raise alcohol awareness through various initiatives and activities, reduce the stigma associated with alcohol dependence, and share information on available resources in order to reduce barriers to treatment and recovery.
If you or a loved one are struggling with substance use or addiction, contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) National Helpline at 1-800-662-4357 for information on support and treatment facilities in your area.