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No other substance more widely abused by youth than alcohol

By ELLEN WALSH Certified Prevention Specialist Four Rivers Behavioral Health Regional Prevention and Education Center

EDITOR:

April is the 28th Annual NCADD Alcohol Awareness Month. Founded and sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) for 28 years, the theme this year is: "Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow."

No other substance is more widely used and abused by America's youth than alcohol, making alcoholism and alcohol-related problems the number one public health problem in the United States.

Addressing this issue requires a sustained and cooperative effort between parents, schools, colleges, community leaders and our youth. The widespread prevalence of underage drinking and the negative consequences it creates remain a stubborn and destructive problem despite decades of efforts to combat it.

Yet, there are four areas that have proven to be effective in prevention of this problem:

1. Curtailing the availability of alcohol to underage populations;

2. Consistent enforcement of existing laws and regulations regarding alcohol purchase;

3. Changing cultural misconceptions and behaviors about alcohol use through education and;

4. Expanded access to treatment and recovery support for adolescents and their families.

But, time is running out. Studies reveal that alcohol consumption by adolescents results in brain damage - possibly permanent - and impairs intellectual development.

So, let's get started providing "Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow."

Please join us on April 28 at 7 p.m. at the Baptist Health Heart Center Auditorium for a Town Hall Meeting titled "Not My Child: A Community Discussion About Underage Drinking". We can't afford to wait any longer.

ELLEN WALSH

Certified Prevention Specialist

Four Rivers Behavioral Health

Regional Prevention and Education Center

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