Alcohol Awareness Month - Understanding the Issue of Underage Drinking

April 1, 2012 by Molly Huff

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) sponsors Alcohol Awareness Month each April.  This month has been set aside and sponsored by the NCADD since 1987 to increase public awareness and also understanding of alcoholism.  NCADD aims to reduce the stigma associated with alcoholism which unfortunately can prevent individuals and families from seeking the help they need.

This year's Alcohol Awareness Month's theme is "Healthy Choices, Heathy Communities: Prevent Underage Drinking."  The theme is designed to draw attention to the impact that alcohol and alcohol-related problems have on our youth, their friends, on families and in our communities.

8.5 percent, or more than 18 million,  Americans suffer from alcohol-use disorders.  In addition to these staggering figures, there are countless millions of Americans who experience the devastating effects alcohol has on someone in their lives.  25 percent of U.S. children have been exposed to alcohol-use disorders in their families.

Tying in with this year's theme, it's important to note teens who experiment with alcohol before the age of 15 are four times more likely to become dependent on alcohol when they are older than those who wait until age 20.  Education and prevention are critically important in reducing alcohol-related problems and alcoholism. 

Parents can help reduce their children's risk of problem drinking by educating their kids and keeping a more watchful eye on their behavior.  Be mindful of your child's whereabouts, friends, and habits - don't be afraid to ask questions and don't be afraid to demand answers.

NCADD Alcohol Awareness Month raises awareness while encouraging people to make healthy and safe choices when it comes to the use of alcohol.  If you would like more information on the issue of underage drinking, click here. 

For help with alcohol related problems locally, talk with your pediatrician, health care provider, visit your local Alcoholics Anonymous website for information or to attend a meeting that fits your schedule.

Stay safe this spring and educate the young ones in your life about the dangers of alcohol.