Updated: Apr 6
By Marian Lopez, CCPRD Office Manager
Alcohol Awareness Month is a national public health awareness campaign sponsored by the National Council for Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), taking place each April. Alcohol Awareness Month was developed in order to increase awareness and understanding of the causes and treatment of one of our nation’s top public health problems: alcoholism. Established in 1987, Alcohol Awareness Month allows communities to focus on spreading awareness and reducing the stigma associated with alcohol addiction. Observance of this awareness campaign also highlights the need for education on the dangers of unsafe alcohol consumptions.
According to the National Institute of Health’s 2020 Monitoring the Future Survey, 55.3% of high school seniors used alcohol in the past year. Among Cook County (non-Chicago) students, 12% of 8th graders, 23% of 10th graders, and 39% of 12th graders reported consuming alcohol in the past 30 days. While national and local figures show a downward trend in the number of young people who use alcohol, alcohol remains the number one drug of choice for America’s youth and is more likely to kill young people than all illegal drugs combined. That’s why it’s important to get involved in Alcohol Awareness Month, in any capacity you can.
What are some ways you can take action this month?
Build your capacity to prevent underage drinking by accessing credible and reliable resources like Prevention First’s Alcohol Policy Resource Center (APRC). Prevention First is the state-contracted Technical Assistance Provider for all Substance Use Prevention Services grantees in Illinois. The APRC has many valuable resources like "Underage Drinking Among High School Seniors” and "COVID-19, Stress, and Alcohol” available to the public on their website.
Parents, download the “Talk. They Hear You” mobile application for tips on how to start this important conversation with your teen and information on why your child might start drinking, how to tell if your child is drinking alcohol, and why small conversations make a big impression.
Youth-serving professionals, including school, healthcare, faith-based, and civic leaders, engage youth in underage drinking prevention by sharing the facts and learning how to start these difficult conversations with them. Check out Partnership to End Addiction’s toolkits for healthcare and school professionals on what you need to know to help protect young people from the risks associated with underage drinking.
And remember, it’s never too early (or too late!) to start a conversation with teens about underage drinking. The key is to have these conversations often, state consistent rules and expectations, and conduct regular check-ins with teens on what they’re experiencing. For information on how the CPYD Coalition is addressing underage drinking, check out the recordings from our fall “Scoop of Advice” sessions on Underage Drinking, available in English and Spanish.
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