Each April, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) sponsors NCADD Alcohol Awareness Month to increase public awareness and understanding, reduce stigma and encourage local communities to focus on alcoholism and alcohol-related issues.
This April, NCADD highlights the important public health issue of underage drinking, a problem with devastating individual, family and community consequences.
Annually, over 6,500 people under the age of 21 die from alcohol-related accidents and thousands more are injured. Additionally:
~ 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.
~ Underage alcohol use costs the nation an estimated $62 billion annually.
Reducing underage drinking is critical to securing a healthy future for America's youth and requires a cooperative effort from parents, schools, community organizations, business leaders, government agencies, the entertainment industry, alcohol manufacturers/retailers and young people.
An integral part of Alcohol Awareness Month is Alcohol-Free Weekend (April 4-6, 2014), which is designed to raise public awareness about the use of alcohol and how it may be affecting individuals, families, and the community. During this seventy-two-hour period, Americans young and old are invited to participate in three alcohol-free days. This is a good opportunity for parents to talk with their children about alcohol and to teach refusal skills.