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April Is Alcohol Awareness Month in Idaho

“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.” ~ Andrew Pucher, President and CEO of the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence For the next 30 days, community organizations across the country will be promoting healthier lifestyles and drinking habits in observance of the 30th annual National Annual Alcohol Awareness Month. The goal is to raise public awareness and understanding, as well as removing the stigma attached to the world’s largest substance abuse disorder – alcoholism. This year’s theme is “Talk Early, Talk Often: Parents Can Make a Difference in Teen Alcohol Use”. The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), the sponsor of the annual month-long observance, says there are several aims this year:

  • Educating people about how to prevent alcoholism
  • Promoting the possibilities of effective treatment
  • Highlighting the real impact that alcohol use can have on a person’s life and the lives of everyone around them
  • Fostering better awareness within the entire community
  • Advocating for the rights of substance abusers and their families

Many of the programs and much of the literature this year will be devoted to informing parents about how much of an impact they can have on their children’s understanding of the true consequences of alcohol misuse and abuse.

How Bad is the Problem of Alcohol Abuse in Idaho?

To understand why the work of both the National Council and the local Idaho NCADD affiliate is so important, one only has to look at the available statistics. National and Idaho alcohol of statistics tend to match up very well:

  • 1 out of every 14 Idaho residents 12 or older has been dependent upon alcohol within the past year.
  • That comes out to approximately 96,000 people per year.
  • Among adults 21 or older, 7% admit to recent “heavy alcohol use”.
  • Among the people enrolled in substance abuse treatment in Idaho, 80% of them are there because they abuse alcohol, either alone or in conjunction with other drugs.

Among Idaho teenagers, the statistics should be worrisome to parents:

  • Slightly less than 10% of all Idaho teenagers will try alcohol for the first time this year.
  • One out of every five Idaho high school students admits to drinking alcohol before they were 13.
  • More than a third of Idaho high schoolers drank at least once within the past 30 days.
  • Over 20% engaged in binge drinking within the last month.
  • Every year, 28,000 underage Idaho residents between the ages of 12 and 20 will report recent binge alcohol use.
  • Roughly 8% of Idaho high school students have driven after drinking within the past 30 days.
  • Even worse, 21% rode with someone who had been drinking.

How Does National Alcohol Awareness Month in Idaho Help?

Help, support, and effective treatment for alcohol abuse in Idaho don’t happen until the general public understands how alcohol abuse touches every community in the state. With that understanding should also come the motivation to actually do something about the problem. National Alcohol Awareness Month and other NCADD programs have helped combat this disease in many ways:

  • Education and referral services
  • Drinking/drunk driver programs
  • Prevention and education programs in schools
  • Recovery support and advocacy
  • Promoting legislative changes at the local, state, and national levels

National Alcohol Awareness Month kicked off on April 1 with Alcohol-Free Weekend, a 72-hour event intended to promote better public awareness about how alcohol affects entire communities. During all of April, parents are reminded to speak to their children and community organizations such as schools, churches, and neighborhood organizations are encouraged to organize their own events. To aid with that, NCADD has put together a handy downloadable Organizer’s Guide. If you live in Idaho and you are worried that you or someone you care about may have a problem with alcohol abuse, then you should contact Ashwood Recovery today, and take your first steps toward regaining control over your life. Located conveniently near Boise, Ashwood Recovery provides specialized addiction treatment to alcoholics, addicts, and their families, helping restore sobriety, sanity, stability, and serenity to their lives. SOURCES: Idaho Behavioral Health Barometer, 2014, The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration