April Is Alcohol Awareness Month

By McCarton Ackerman 04/07/15

The theme for this year is “Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow."

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The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence is once again sponsoring Alcohol Awareness Month, but their focus this year will be on young drinkers.

This event has been held each April since 1987 and features events at local, state, and national levels. The theme for this year is “Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow.” Events held across the country will be targeted towards educating people on the treatment and prevention of alcoholism among youth, as well as early education for children about the dangers of alcohol. Last weekend was also designated by the NCADD as their official Alcohol-Free Weekend.

"Underage drinking is a complex issue, one that can only be solved through a sustained and cooperative effort,” said Andrew Pucher, president and chief executive officer of NCADD. “As a nation, we need to wake up to the reality that for some, alcoholism and addiction develop at a young age and that intervention, treatment, and recovery support are essential for them and their families. We can't afford to wait any longer.”

The NCADD noted that teens who begin drinking before the age of 15 are four times more likely to develop problems with alcohol later in life than those who wait until the age of 20. The reasons for early drinking can include a desire for peer acceptance, a means of self-medicating or a lack of knowledge about the dangers of alcohol. Even if kids wait until a later age to drink, 25% of American children have been exposed to alcohol-related disorders or problem drinking in their family.

Particularly among those between the ages of 18 and 24, drinking can be dangerous and even fatal. Statistics from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism state that approximately 1,825 college students between ages 18-24 die each year from alcohol-related unintentional injuries. More than 97,000 students in this age range are victims of alcohol-related sexual assault or date rape, while 690,000 students in this age range have been assaulted by another student who was intoxicated.

Perhaps for these reasons, most Americans support the current minimum drinking age. A Gallup Poll from 2014 found that 74% of Americans oppose lowering the national drinking age to 18.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.