Health/Science

Help for Today. Hope For Tomorrow

Health/Science

Help for TodayEach April since 1987, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. sponsors Alcohol Awareness Month in an effort to increase public attention and understanding. With this year's theme, "Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow," schools, churches, and community organizations will sponsor activities promoting education and prevention of alcoholism. This is a time when we can raise awareness about alcohol abuse and take action to prevent it, both at home and in the community.

April was deliberately chosen as the month to focus on alcohol abuse awareness, because it is the traditional start of prom and graduation season. Alcohol is the highest risk drug of choice for young people, as it is responsible for the most injury and death among young people over all other factors, including all illegal drugs combined. Scientific evidence shows that the earlier one begins drinking, the more likely they are to develop alcoholism later in life.

This year's theme is an effort to demonstrate the impact alcohol use disorders have on the future. Emotional, physical and economic consequences include traffic fatalities, violence, suicide, educational failure, alcohol overdose, unsafe sex and other problem behaviors. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that the economic impact of alcohol-related disorders cost $223.5 billion per year.

Alcohol abuse by young people is particularly dangerous because of the potential they hold for the future, reducing underage drinking is critical to promoting the opportunities which await them. It's important for people to have all the information possible to make the best decisions; the goal is not a limiting one, but to expand the knowledge and consciousness people have about alcohol use. Alcohol Awareness Month is an important time for cooperative dialogue about the realities of alcoholism and the solutions possible with treatment, a time when we allow the importance of education and awareness to be the focus and the goal.

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