While communities are faced with a number of substance abuse issues, underage drinking continues to be among the most pervasive ones, with nearly 11 million underage drinkers today. That’s why April is designated as Alcohol Awareness Month, an annual public awareness campaign that encourages local communities to focus on alcoholism and alcohol-related issues.
According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 51.6 percent of Americans age 12 and older had used alcohol at least once in the 30 days prior to being surveyed; 23.3 percent had binged (5+ drinks within 2 hours); and 23.3 percent reported drinking heavily (5+ drinks on 5+ occasions). In the 12-17 age range, 14.6 percent had consumed at least one drink in the 30 days prior to being surveyed; 8.8 percent had binged; and 2 percent drank heavily.
Many coalitions throughout the country are hosting town hall meetings in April to raise awareness about the dangers of alcohol abuse and underage drinking. For free resources to help you host a town hall in your community, visit: www.stopalcoholabuse.gov/townhallmeetings/map/Map_2010.aspx.
There are a number of Web sites that offer free resources to help coalitions engage the community in underage drinking prevention. Here are a few:
National Clearinghouse on Alcohol and Drug Information
The Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking 2007
The Surgeon General’s A Guide to Action for Communities
CADCA’s Support 21 Toolkit
Alcohol Policy Information System
National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism
STOP Underage Drinking
CollegeDrinkingPrevention.gov, which offers important information and resources on alcoholism and substance abuse for college students, parents of college students, high school parents and students.