April is Alcohol Awareness Month, sponsored by the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD). The theme of this year’s Alcohol Awareness Month is “Help for Today. Hope for Tomorrow,” which highlights the impact that alcoholism has on young people and their friends, families, and communities. NCADD Alcohol Awareness Month also aims to address underage drinking, an important topic to talk about as prom and graduation season approaches.
Eye-opening statistics from the NCADD:
- Over 18 million Americans (8.5% of the population) suffer from alcohol-use disorders, with countless others experiencing the effects of another person’s alcohol problem.
- 25% of children in the United States have been exposed to alcohol-use disorders in their family.
- Each day, 7,000 kids in the United States under the age of 16 take their first drink.
- Those who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who begin at age 21.
- More than 1,700 college students in the U.S. are killed each year—over 4 each day—as a result of alcohol-related injuries.
- Underage alcohol use costs the nation an estimated $62 billion annually.
Resources for help
Education and prevention are crucial to reducing alcohol-related problems. However, many people mistakenly believe that resources for help are out of their price range. Check into these free and low-cost places and organizations that you or a loved one can turn to for support and help regarding alcohol addiction and recovery.
Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMSHA) resources:
- If you need help regarding an addiction, check out this list of SAMHSA hotlines, a treatment center finder, a therapist locator, and more
- Peruse SAMHSA’s list of resources about addiction, treatment, and recovery
- Alcoholics Anonymous–For alcoholics and recovering alcoholics who are seeking support. Includes a meeting finder to locate AA meetings in your area.
- Al-Anon and Alateen–For those whose lives have been affected by a loved one’s alcoholism. Learn what to expect at your first meeting, and find meetings in your area.
- Narcotics Anonymous–For those who are addicted to narcotics. Includes a meeting finder as well as links to recovery literature.
Other helpful information:
- The National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence–includes resources for people in recovery, for parents, for youths, and news articles regarding addiction and recovery.
- The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism–includes articles about how alcohol affects your health, how alcohol affects teens, college drinking prevention, and more.
- The National Institute on Drug Abuse–features addiction and recovery resources for young adults, parents, teachers, and medical professionals. Also offers information on clinical trials.
For more free and low-cost health resources, visit www.HealthcareSurvivalGuide.com. Also, check with your employer to see if your employee benefits package includes an advocacy service such as Health Advocate (if not, you can check out Health Advocate’s consumer division, Health Proponent). An advocacy service can help connect you to medical providers, such as primary care physicians or mental health specialists, who can help with addiction-related issues.