Alcohol Awareness Month and Options for Recovery


alcoholic, drinking silhouette

The theme of this year’s Alcohol Awareness Month is aimed at educating people about the treatment and prevention of alcoholism, particularly among youth, and the important role that parents can play in giving children a better understanding of the impact that alcohol can have on their lives.

The April annual recognition of Alcohol Awareness Month is designed to increase awareness and understanding of alcoholism, its causes, effective treatments and recovery options. It is an opportunity to decrease stigma and misunderstandings in order to dismantle the barriers to treatment and recovery, and thus, make seeking help more readily available to those who suffer from this disease.

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) and the Champion Center remind you that despite the legal drinking age of 21, high school students still consume 31 million gallons of wine coolers and 102 million gallons of beer each year in the U.S.

Drinking is associated with the leading causes of death among young people, including car crashes, murder, and suicide. In fact, alcohol is the deadliest drug for America’s teenagers: a 16-year old is more likely to die from an alcohol-related problem than any other cause.

Statistics compiled in Santa Barbara County several years ago indicate that 24 percent of 9th graders and 35 percent of 11th graders in the county reported using alcohol in the previous 30 days. Rates of youth binge drinking in the county were considered “fairly alarming,” with 14 percent of 9th graders and 25 percent of 11th graders, for instance.

NCADD and the Champion Center want parents to know that progress is being made in the struggle to address underage drinking in our community. Research shows that kids who learn about the dangers of underage drinking from their parents are up to 50 percent less likely to experiment than kids who don’t. So, help connect the dots for your kids about alcohol use – it’s worth it.

April is Alcohol Awareness Month and if you think your child is drinking just to “have a good time,” you may need to reconsider. Many children and young adults drink alone because they are bored or depressed. This puts them at greater risk for developing alcohol-related problems later in life. So, talk to your kids – help them connect the dots about alcohol use.

In Santa Barbara County, for instance, a Social Host Ordinance exists to help prevent underage drinking by installing a deterrent for parents to provide alcohol to their children in a party setting. The ordinance holds individuals responsible for hosting, or knowingly providing a place for underage drinking to occur. In a party setting, it is often difficult or impossible to identify who provided the alcohol. The ordinance assigns responsibility to those who knew or should have known that party was occurring on their property involving underage drinking. A first offense carries a $500 fine, with a mandatory education class. Second offenses are $1,000 and third offenses are $2,000. The ordinance urges people hosting parties where alcohol is being served, and with children present, to be aware of who is in the home and what they might be bringing to the party.

As part of the education of Alcohol Awareness Month, Champion Center therapists and counselors want to ensure young people understand that not all adults drink.

During Alcohol-Free Weekend (March 31-April 2, 2017), NCADD and the Champion Center ask parents and other adults to abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages for a 72-hour period to demonstrate that alcohol isn’t necessary to have a good time.

If participants find it difficult to go without alcohol during this period, we urge them to call the Champion Center 805-875-8800 for information about alcoholism and treatment.

The Champion Center acknowledges the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (www.ncadd.org) for being the founder and sponsor of NCADD Alcohol Awareness Month in 1987. Rose Miller, M.S. is a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor with the California Consortium of Addiction Programs and Professionals (CCAPP), and a member of the National Association of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Counselors (NAADAC). In addition to her counseling background, she has been a Licensed Vocational Nurse since 1982.

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