What is Alcohol Awareness Month? Alcohol Awareness Month is a national public health awareness campaign sponsored by the National Council for Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD). It takes place every 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.
IMPORTANT FACTS ABOUT ALCOHOL
Alcohol is the most used substance by youth and adults in the United States. 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. Results of the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), demonstrated that 85.6 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they drank alcohol at some point in their lifetime; 69.5 percent reported that they drank in the past year; 54.9 percent reported that they drank in the past month. In 2019, 25.8 percent of people ages 18 or older reported that they engaged in binge drinking in the past month; 6.3 percent reported that they engaged in heavy alcohol use in the past month. Alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States. About 95,000 Americans die from alcohol-related causes each year.
Patterns of drinking associated with AUD (Alcohol Use Disorder): Binge drinking and heavy alcohol use can increase an individual’s risk of AUD. The U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend that if alcohol is consumed, it should be in moderation, defined as up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men, and only by adults of legal drinking age. Some individuals should avoid alcohol completely.
Prevalence of Binge Drinking and Heavy Alcohol Use: In 2019, 25.8 percent of people ages 18 and older (29.7 percent of men in this age group and 22.2 percent of women in this age group⁴) reported that they engaged in binge drinking in the past month,⁴ and 6.3 percent (8.3 percent of men in this age group and 4.5 percent of women in this age group⁵) reported that they engaged in heavy alcohol use in the past month.⁵
Emerging Trend—High-Intensity Drinking: High-intensity drinking is defined as consuming alcohol at levels that are two or more times the gender-specific binge drinking thresholds. Compared with people who did not binge drink, people who drank alcohol at twice the gender-specific binge drinking thresholds were 70 times more likely to have an alcohol-related emergency department (ED) visit, and those who consumed alcohol at 3 times the gender-specific binge thresholds were 93 times more likely to have an alcohol-related ED visit.⁶
Treatment for alcohol use disorder works** – According to research that tracks individuals in treatment over extended periods, most people who get into and remain in treatment stop using drugs, decrease their criminal activity, and improve their occupational, social, and psychological functioning. Individual treatment outcomes depend on the extent and nature of the patient’s problems, the appropriateness of treatment and related services used to address those problems, and the quality of interaction between the patient and his or her treatment providers. Unfortunately, when relapse occurs many deem treatment a failure. This is not the case: Successful treatment for addiction typically requires continual evaluation and modification as appropriate, similar to the approach taken for other chronic diseases.
Tully Hill Treatment and Recovery treats alcohol and other drug use disorders. Visit www.tullyhill.com for information about our services, programs and referral processes.
4 SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Table 2.20B – Binge Alcohol Use in Past Month among Persons Aged 12 or Older, by Age Group and Demographic Characteristics: Percentages, 2018 and 2019.
5 SAMHSA, Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality. 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. Table 2.21B – Heavy Alcohol Use in Past Month among Persons Aged 12 or Older, by Age Group and Demographic Characteristics: Percentages, 2018 and 2019.
6 Hingson, R.W.; Zha, W.; and White, A.M. Drinking beyond the binge threshold: Predictors, consequences, and changes in the U.S. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 52(6):717–727, 2017. PMID: 28526355 7 © 2021 Partners in Prevention. All Rights Reserved.
*all copy except very last paragraph (‘Treatment for alcohol use disorder works’) and images reprinted with permission from Partners in Prevention – Hudson County and New Jersey, 2021 Alcohol Awareness Month Tool kit, available at www.pipnj.org/aam2021
**National Institute on Drug Abuse, Principles of Drug Addiction Treatment: A Research-Based Guide (Third Edition),’How effective is drug addiction treatment?’