Organized by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence and first occurring in 1987, Alcohol Awareness Month has been a major outreach and education program conducted each April across the country.
The slogan for 2021 is “Changing Attitudes: It’s Not a Rite of Passage,” with a focus on describing to youths and their families the effects and costs of alcohol consumption.
Talking Points During April’s Alcohol Awareness Month
Too often, people scoff at the concept of Alcohol Awareness Month, glibly replying, “Yeah, I’m well aware there is alcohol. Big deal.” Alcohol consumption has been glamorized and normalized to the point where binge drinking and dangerous consumption are common and accepted.
The problem is that those same people often do not understand the life-altering effect that alcohol can have. A few of the topics that NCADD and other advocacy groups recommend for discussion include:
- Causes of alcoholism
- Signs and symptoms of alcoholism
- Current and future effects of alcohol use disorder
- Tips for discussing alcohol, its consumption, and its effects
- Treatment options
During April’s Alcohol Awareness month, there are many different activities conducted and events held throughout the nation, many of which take place during National Drug and Alcohol Facts Week. Throughout this spring month, you might see alcohol-related:
- Print ads
- Television commercials
Often areas that see higher alcohol use, like college campuses and sporting events/tailgate areas, are targeted.
To help raise funds for more awareness activities year-round, events like runs/walks or concerts are held. Online events have also become quite popular, productive, and successful.
The National Institute on Drug Abuse implemented the National Drug & Alcohol IQ Challenge, where you can not only test your understanding of the topics but learn more about it after you answer each question.
SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) has organized an event idea list, with events categorized under:
Try to Go Dry
The challenge is to have at least one dry weekend during April or, better yet, abstain completely. Do not drink anything Friday through Sunday, and note how you feel. If it was difficult or you were unable to meet the challenge, it is probably time to seek help.
The Importance of Alcohol Awareness Month
Drinking amongst adolescents is a rampant issue, perhaps because it is readily available, commonly seen, and its use, misuse, or abuse is accepted. It is important for everyone to discuss the dangers of drinking, including but not limited to:
- Death by motor vehicle, falls, burns, homicide, suicide, and drowning
- Increased risk of injury
- Risky behaviors due to impaired judgment
Changing Attitudes Towards Alcohol
Unfortunately, there is the misguided belief that your first beer or shot of whiskey “makes you a man” or that drinking wine with the ladies makes you a woman. There is a serious need to dispel the idea that “kids will be kids.”
Kegger parties in a field around a bonfire or crazy blow-outs while the parents are out of town are memorable, but sometimes those memories are horrific.
It is time to not only talk to kids about mindful drinking but demonstrate it as well.
Find the Help You Need
Whether you are seeking help for yourself or because you are concerned about the alcohol use of a loved one, Summit Malibu is ready to help. There are several treatment options available, including outpatient, group therapy, and residential treatment. We have extensive experience in the treatment of alcohol use disorder and other co-occurring mental health conditions.
Contact us today to discuss your concerns and take the steps necessary to get the help you need.