Each April since 1987, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) has sponsored Alcohol Awareness Month to increase public awareness and understanding, reduce stigma and encourage local communities to focus on alcoholism and alcohol-related issues.
With this year’s theme, “Talk Early, Talk Often: Parents Can Make a Difference in Teen Alcohol Use,” the month of April will be filled with local, state, and national events aimed at educating people about the treatment and prevention of alcoholism, particularly among our youth, and the important role that parents can play in giving kids a better understanding of the impact that alcohol can have on their lives. Local NCADD Affiliatesas well as schools, colleges, churches, and countless other community organizations will sponsor a host of activities that create awareness and encourage individuals and families to get help for alcohol-related problems.
Alcohol use by young people is extremely dangerous—both to themselves and to society, and is directly associated with traffic fatalities, violence, suicide, educational failure, alcohol overdose, unsafe sex and other problem behaviors, even for those who may never develop a dependence or addiction. Adolescence is a time of heightened risk-taking and as alcohol and drugs enter the picture, parents are faced with a unique set of challenges. They can simply sit back and hope their kids will “get through it,” or they can take an active role in learning about alcohol and drugs and helping their kids do the same.
It can be daunting to talk with children about drinking and drug use, but it is well worth the effort parents put into it. In fact, research has shown that kids who have conversations with their parents and learn a lot about the dangers of alcohol and drug use are 50% less likely to use these substances than those who don’t have such conversations.
“Alcohol and drug use is a very risky business for young people,” says Andrew Pucher, President and Chief Executive Officer of NCADD, “and parents can make a difference. The longer children delay drinking and drug use, the less likely they are to develop any problems associated with it. That’s why it is so important to help your child make smart decisions about alcohol and drugs.”
An integral part of Alcohol Awareness Month is Alcohol-Free Weekend (April 1-3, 2016), which is designed to raise public awareness about the use of alcohol and how it may be affecting individuals, families, and the community. During this seventy-two-hour period, NCADD extends an open invitation to all Americans, young and old, to participate in three alcohol-free days and to use this time to contact local NCADD Affiliates and other alcoholism agencies to learn more about alcoholism and its early symptoms.