Alcohol Awareness Month 2019
Innovated, funded, and sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Alcohol Awareness Month was first established in 1987 to help reduce the stigma associated with alcohol addiction. The driving force behind Alcohol Awareness Month was to encourage communities to reach out to the American public every April, for the duration of the month, with information and resources on alcohol, alcoholism, and recovery.
Probably the most valuable thing about Alcohol Awareness Month is that it strives to reduce preconceived misconceptions, stigmas, and stereotypes about alcoholism, thus making help more readily available for those who struggle with the addiction. Alcohol Awareness Month gets us talking about the crisis, and when we can talk about it, we open the door for various solutions and methods of addressing it.
Alcohol Awareness Month in 2019
If you go to the website for the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, you’ll find their full description of what Alcohol Awareness Month is all about, and what this year’s theme is. With a cursory study of their information, it’s clear to see why the group created Alcohol Awareness Month and why they have chosen the themes that they have.
For 2019, the theme is, “Help for today, hope for tomorrow.” The goal is to educate people on both the treatment of alcoholism and the prevention of alcohol addiction, which is just as important—if not more important. This year’s Alcohol Awareness Month also intends to focus on educating parents about alcoholism, primarily so that parents can teach their own kids about the harmful effects of heavy drinking.
Another facet to this month’s program is to get schools, churches, non-profit groups, colleges, and other community organizations involved, particularly when it comes to educating local families about the harmful effects of alcohol misuse. Another goal is to get families coming together to help anyone within the family who struggles with an alcohol habit.
And last but not least, the Alcohol Awareness Month for 2019 is promoting an “Alcohol-Free” weekend, at which point the group is asking all Americans to abstain from alcohol consumption from April 5th through April 7th. The group encourages anyone who feels withdrawal symptoms during this time to contact a residential addiction treatment center as soon as possible.
Alcohol Addiction Statistics
One of the most crucial parts of raising awareness for an addiction issue is to publicize broadly the statistics pertinent to that issue. Alcohol addiction often seems to drop off the radar a bit, probably not earning as much media attention as other addiction issues do because alcohol is legal and its consumption is even broadly encouraged in our country.
But it’s important to understand the width and breadth of this crisis, for when we know how serious it is, we understand why it is so important to do something about it.
According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, about 17.6 million people in the U.S. struggle with a drinking problem. That comes out to about one in every 12 adults.
Alcohol misuse is a highly lethal problem, hence the importance of programs like the Alcohol Awareness Month which can raise awareness of that fact. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, an estimated 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes every single year. Thus, that one substance kills more people than all illicit drugs and pharmaceutical drugs combined.
The NIAAA also did an estimate on a global scale for alcohol consumption and its effects on the global crisis of alcohol misuse. According to the NIAAA, about 5.9 percent of all deaths across the globe each year are attributable to alcohol consumption. This substance claims about 3.3 million deaths every year, planet-wide.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, not only does the U.S. lose tens of thousands of lives to alcohol consumption every year, but heavy drinking is also widespread in American society. The CDC reports that 25.1 percent of adults over the age of 18 had at least one day of heavy drinking in the last year. That’s one-quarter of the U.S. adult population. This kind of dangerous consumption of alcohol is also financially high. In another document, the CDC reports that the economic cost of American adults drinking too much alcohol is quite extreme. For example, 2010 saw a $249 billion price tag on our economy due to alcohol consumption. These costs manifest in the form of lost work productivity, accidents, collateral damage, medical bills, paid sick leave and medical leave, and so on.
That’s just a glimpse at the width and breadth of the alcohol misuse crisis in the U.S., but it’s enough to show someone just how extreme this problem is.
What Can You Do This April for Alcohol Awareness Month?
The first step to take this April is to get informed on alcoholism and alcohol misuse. There are plenty of free resources for doing just this. Alcoholawareness.org is a good website for data, as is health.gov, and the official website for the National Council on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.
The next step is to get the community involved, to get other members of your household and neighborhood educated on the risks and dangers of alcohol misuse. Anything from handing out flyers in local businesses to hosting community discussions at local coffee shops or town hall meetings. Anything such as going door-to-door and talking to neighbors, meeting with local schools, churches, community groups, clubs, and so on, are all valuable ways to get one’s town on board with Alcohol Awareness Month.
Last but not least, the third phase of Alcohol Awareness Month (and probably the most important part) is to seek out and help anyone within the community who struggles with alcoholism. Whether it is someone within one’s home, the neighbor across the street, or a stranger, anyone who suffers from alcoholism should have help and a way out of their nightmare. Getting such a person help through a residential treatment center is the proper way to go about this.
Tackling the alcohol addiction crisis within the United States was never going to be easy. But with the help of caring and benevolent programs like Alcohol Awareness Month, we are one step closer to accomplishing our goal of a sober America.
Reviewed and Edited by Claire Pinelli, ICAADC, CCS, LADC, MCAP, RAS