Alcohol Awareness Month is an opportunity for all people across America to increase awareness and understanding of alcohol addiction, its causes, effective treatment methods, and recovery. It is an opportunity to work on overcoming stigma and misconceptions about alcohol use disorder (AUD) in order to bring down barriers to treatment and recovery for those who suffer from this disease.
Founded and sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (now Facing Addiction with NCADD), Alcohol Awareness Month was established in 1987 to help reduce the stigma so often associated with AUD by encouraging communities to reach out to the American public each April with information about alcohol, alcohol addiction, and recovery. Alcohol addiction is a chronic, progressive disease, featuring a genetic predisposition. It is often fatal if untreated.
Despite all the focus on the ongoing opioid epidemic, we have to remember that alcohol continues to kill more Americans than opioids. Yet, there is no media coverage of an alcohol misuse epidemic. It is important that we include alcohol in the national conversation about addiction. Alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States.
In his seminal 2016 report on addiction, former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy stated that “one in ten deaths among working adults are due to alcohol misuse” and that “alcohol misuse and alcohol use disorders alone cost the United States approximately $249 billion in lost productivity, health care expenses, law enforcement, and other criminal justice costs.”
According to Facing Addiction with NCADD, one in 12 adults in America suffers from alcohol use disorder and excessive drinking is responsible for more than 4,300 deaths among underage youth each year.
This year’s theme of Alcohol Awareness Month, “Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow,” attempts to draw attention to the pervasive impact alcohol and alcohol-related problems have on young people and their communities. People with addiction should understand that help is available and recovery is possible. Local Facing Addiction with NCADD affiliates as well as schools, colleges, churches, and other community organizations may sponsor a host of activities that create awareness and encourage individuals and families to get help for alcohol-related problems.
If you wish to help, you can develop your own Alcohol Awareness Month event. Facing Addiction with NCADD prepared a downloadable organizer’s guide and you can participate in the discussion on social media using the hashtag #AlcoholAwarenessMonth2019.
Alcohol use disorder is a complex biopsychosocial condition but it is treatable and people can and do recover from it. If you or someone you know is struggling with substance use and could benefit from addiction treatment services, please contact The Farley Center at Williamsburg Place at 800.582.6066 or fill out our admissions request form.