April has arrived, which signifies positive happenings like Spring, Easter and Passover. But there is another important distinction to consider during these next 30 days and that’s Alcohol Awareness Month. Every year during this time, advocacy organizations and treatment centers aim to bring more exposure to the dangers of drinking.
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) helps spearhead this movement each April, distributing toolkits, social media hashtags and tips for people who want to participate. Alcohol Awareness Month actually began back in 1987 and, per its mission statement, “allows communities to focus on spreading awareness and reducing the stigma associated with alcohol addiction.”
It is worth highlighting (and certainly no surprise) that alcohol is the most used substance by youth and adults in the United States. According to NCADD’s latest 2020 stats, more that 55 percent of all U.S. high school seniors have gotten drunk in the past year. 69 percent of Americans aged 21 and up consumed alcohol in 2020 as well. And most tragic of all, alcoholism claimed nearly 100,000 U.S. lives last year.
To help lower those stats, Alcohol Awareness Month focuses on different weekly themes. The first week of April is dedicated to Impaired Driving and Violence Related to Alcohol, advocating for the victims behind this disease. Week two covers Alcohol-Related Emergency Room Visits and medical stats related to drinking too much. Week three is unique to our current times and highlights Alcohol’s Role in the Opioid Epidemic. And finally, the last week of April is dedicated to Alcohol and Cancer, touching on its dangerous long-lasting affects.
Throughout the entire month, social media sharing is strongly encouraged. The campaign provides advocates with a variety of images and memes to share across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram; all with the #AlcoholAwarenessMonth hashtag. It is worth noting that these materials are available in multiple languages, encouraging universal support across different cultures.
As you can tell by the materials above, there is definitely a push to bring young people into this conversation. The organizers behind Alcohol Awareness Month have embraced some of the younger skewing social media networks (such as Instagram) in the hopes that it will educate and steer teens away from using.
We certainly applaud this movement and all that it stands for. If you would like to participate or spread the word, try incorporating #AlcoholAwarenessMonth into your social media posts this April and encourage your larger network to do the same.