Alcohol Awareness Month: The Importance of Annual Observances

Alcohol Awareness Month: The Importance of Annual Observances

What is Alcohol Awareness Month?

According to Partners in Prevention, “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.” The observance was established in 1987 by the National Council for Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) to help communities increase awareness, reduce stigma, and educate the public about the risks of consuming alcohol.

Ways to Observe Alcohol Awareness Month

While individuals, organizations and communities may want to observe Alcohol Awareness Month (AAM), sometimes thinking of activities for the month is difficult. If the is the first time you have observed AAM, start small and plan a few activities for the month or one per week. When you hold the observance next time, you can carry over those that were the most successful and add new ones. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Promote Alcohol Use Disorder (AUD) as a preventable disease that can also be treated. Urge people to seek treatment for themselves and to encourage friends or loved ones to seek treatment. Providing reference numbers, appropriate websites, and other resources is very important and some resources are provided below.

[Read: National Recovery Month: Supporting Sustained, Long-term Recovery – Updated for 2020!]

  1. Provide screening for AUD and other behavioral health disorders such as Depression, Anxiety, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Screening is a quick and easy way to find out if you need further assessment for AUD or other mental health conditions. Screening may be online or paper and pencil, and some resources are provided below.

[Access this resource: Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention for Youth: A Practitioner’s Guide]

  1. Help raise awareness about the physical harms and financial costs of alcohol for those with AUD by using materials that focus on actual data. Published research should guide all efforts in prevention, treatment, and recovery.

[Read: Five Facts About the Brain and Addiction]

  1. Help raise awareness about the impact of AUD on society and the community of the person with AUD by providing statistics from reliable sources. Your message will be more meaningful and have greater effect.

[Read: Good News: According to New Research AA Works!]

  1. Focus your efforts on the special emphasis populations that you serve, whether you serve underage youth, older adults, women, or an ethnic or racial minority. Doing so will allow you to provide information about those populations to people in your community who may not be aware of issues surrounding those populations and the health disparities that exist for them.

[Read: Recovery in Special Emphasis Populations: Leveling the Playing Field]

  1. Request a Proclamation For Alcohol Awareness Month from your state’s Governor. Templates for at least four states are available from the Northwest Prevention Technology Transfer Center (PTTC) which can be adapted to raise awareness of this important public health issue and its consequences.

[Access the Proclamation Template]

  1. Write a letter to your Legislators or write a letter to your local newspaper about the fact that alcohol causes cancer and results in secondhand harms in the same way that cigarettes and other nicotine products impact people who surround the person who uses them. Handy templates are available from the Northwest PTTC

[Access the Editorial and Legislator Letter Templates]

  1. Participate in National Alcohol Screening Day on April 7, 2021. Here is a handy alcohol screening tool to assess your own drinking patterns sponsored by the Center on Addiction.

These and many additional resources for hosting your own Alcohol Awareness month are available to use free from the Northwest PTTC in the 2021 Alcohol Awareness Toolkit: #ProofIsInTheNumbers. The Weekly Themes are:

  • Week 1:Harms to Others/Impaired Driving/Violence (April 1-3)
  • Week 2:Increases in Alcohol-Related Emergency Room Visits (April 4-10)
  • Week 3:Alcohol’s Role in The Opioid Epidemic (April 11-17)
  • Week 4:Alcohol and Cancer (April 18-24)
  • Week 5:Harms to Others/Impaired Driving/Violence (April 25-30)

While the toolkit was developed for communities in SAMHSA’s Region 10, prevention partners anywhere can use the materials to help observe April as National Alcohol Awareness Month and full directions are provided in the toolkit.

Selected Resources

National Alcohol Awareness Month Links

Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America (CADCA) Get Involved in Alcohol Awareness Month page – Great ideas for community prevention coalition and others for supporting Alcohol Awareness Month

National Substance Abuse Treatment Locators and Helplines:

SAMHSA’s National Helpline – 1-800-662-HELP (4357) – SAMHSA’s National Helpline is a free, confidential, 24/7, 365-day-a-year treatment referral and information service (in English and Spanish) for individuals and families facing mental and/or substance use disorders.

SAMHSA’s Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator – A confidential and anonymous source of information for persons seeking treatment facilities in the United States or U.S. Territories for substance use/addiction and/or mental health problems.

SAMHSA’s Buprenorphine Practitioner Locator –  Find practitioners authorized to treat opioid dependency with buprenorphine by state.

SAMHSA’s Opioid Treatment Program Directory – This site has a drop-down menu for locating programs by state.

Alcohol Screening – Sponsored by the Center on Addiction (formerly run through the Join Together News Service, a project of the Boston University School of Public Health).

Mental Health America – mental health testing tools for screening.

Nevada Substance Abuse Treatment Locators and Helplines:

Behavioral Health NV – A database of behavioral health providers specializing in substance use disorder and co-occurring mental health disorder treatment services.  All agencies listed are Certified by the Division, SAPTA (Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Agency).

Crisis Support Services of Nevada 1 (800) 273-8255 or Text CARE to 839863 –  “Crisis Support Services of Nevada’s mission is to provide 24/7, free, confidential and caring support to people in crisis. We work every day to be a beacon of hope in their darkest moments and empower them to see a better tomorrow. For more than 50 years, we have provided an empathetic ear, a caring heart and a helping hand to anyone in need.” Some of the issues they respond to are:

  • Depression & suicide
  • Sexual Assault/Domestic Abuse Hotline: 1-775-221-7600 or Text SASS to 839863
  • Elder abuse/Child abuse: 1-833-803-1183
  • Domestic violence
  • Stalking
  • Substance abuse Help Line: 1-775-825-4357 or toll free 1-800-450-9530

Nevada Community Prevention Coalitions

Websites for Prevention Coalitions

Community Anti-Drug Coalitions (CADCA) Alcohol Awareness Month page

Miscellaneous Resources

Alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention for Youth: A Practitioner’s GuideA guide, developed by NIAAA, designed to help health care professionals quickly identify youth at risk for alcohol-related problems.

Planning Alcohol Interventions Using NIAAA’s College Alcohol Intervention Matrix (AIM)

The College Alcohol Intervention Matrix – is a new resource to help schools address harmful and underage student drinking. Developed with leading college alcohol researchers and staff, it is an easy-to-use and comprehensive tool to identify effective alcohol interventions.

Find Additional resources in the Resources & Downloads page.

What did we miss? Do you have resources and links that we failed to mention? Please post them in the comments below.

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