Are you willing to participate in Alcohol Free Weekend?
To many people this question may seem very benign. That is, not indulging in alcohol for a weekend is a very simple goal to accomplish. It could be they never drink or they seldom drink. But for many adults, young and old alike, as well as a growing number of teenagers drinking every weekend is what they do when they get together with their friends and family or it could be what they do when they are isolated from friends and family.
According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD):
- Annually, over 6,500 people under the age of 21 die from alcohol-related accidents and thousands more are injured.
- Alcohol is the number one drug of choice for America’s young people, and is more likely to kill young people than all illegal drugs combined.
- 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—about 4.65 a day—as a result of alcohol-related injuries.
- 25% of U.S. children are exposed to alcohol-use disorders in their family.
- Underage alcohol use costs the nation an estimated $62 billion annually.
So, again, are you willing to not drink alcohol starting today April 4 through April 6, 2014?
Alcohol Free Weekend is a part of Alcohol Awareness Month
28 years ago the NCADD started the tradition of April being Alcohol Awareness Month. It was designed to increase public awareness as well as understanding of the stigma of alcoholism and to encourage local communities to turn a lens on alcoholism and alcohol related issues.
Throughout the month of April 2014 there will be events going on across the nation that will highlight the public health issue of alcoholism in general and specifically the problems associated with underage drinking.
You should know that many communities have local NCADD Affiliates; these affiliates can serve as a valuable resource for individuals, families, employers, schools, and the like.
“Help for Today. Hope for Tomorrow”
Again this year’s theme “Help for Today. Hope for Tomorrow” encapsulates the vision and goal that every family wants to experience when dealing with a loved one who is suffering from the disease of alcoholism. Typically a family will look for help for today from other family members, their doctors, co-workers, an employee assistance program (EAP) or a friend, but help may need to come in the form of arranging for an intervention.
Greg Muth, the chairperson of the NCADD Board of Directors discusses the focus on underage drinkers:
“Underage drinking is a complex issue one that can only be solved through a sustained and cooperative effort. 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.”
A successful intervention can, and often does, provide the hope for tomorrow.