Alcohol Awareness Months Offers Opportunities to Talk About the Dangers of Underage and Harmful Drinking
April is Alcohol Awareness Month, giving community organizations, parents, educators, and institutes of higher education, among others, a ready-made reason to address the issue of underage and harmful drinking prevention.
Sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD), Alcohol Awareness Month provides a focused opportunity across the country to increase awareness and understanding of causes of alcohol misuse and effective treatment and recovery options. Community organizations and institutes of higher education can rally around this observance to develop and share alcohol-specific prevention messages and materials with families and young people. April is a perfect time to address this issue, too. With prom season around the corner, college commencements in May, and the upcoming summer break, these milestones come with the prospect of parties and celebrations where alcohol may be involved. According to SAMHSA’s National Survey on Drug Use and Health, many adolescents and full-time college students use substances for the first time during the summer months.
This year’s theme for Alcohol Awareness Month is “Connecting the Dots: Opportunities for Recovery,” highlighting what individuals, families, and communities can do to prevent underage alcohol use. Download the NCADD Organizer’s Guide to help plan and develop your own 2017 Alcohol Awareness Month event, or tie this observance into your existing plans.
You can also help parents and caregivers better understand the dangers of underage and harmful drinking. Specifically, help them learn about social host liability laws and make sure they are not encouraging underage drinking or letting it happen under their watch.
Don’t forget to invite community members to join in prevention activities, too. Consider hosting a Communities Talk event to educate school administrators, community partners, local businesses, and families about resources like Talk. They Hear You., family agreement forms, and environmental prevention strategies to make alcohol less available for young people throughout the year. These resources and ongoing, open discussions can help everyone in your community play a role in preventing underage drinking and promoting healthy behaviors.