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April is Alcohol Awareness Month

From the champagne toast at weddings to having that cocktail before dinner, the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) urges moderation in drinking in recognition of Alcohol Awareness month. The MLCC emphasizes the serious consequences of drinking too much and the importance of knowing the difference between social drinking and problem drinking. 

“Drinking alcohol is a socially acceptable practice to celebrate life’s great moments and to relax in stressful times,” said MLCC Chair Pat Gagliardi. “We remind consumers to use alcohol responsibly.”

As with most anything, there’s a problem using alcohol in excess. When it’s misused, it can lead to serious health and public safety concerns. Alcohol awareness starts with these important reminders:

  • Know that alcohol products are increasingly more potent, such as hard liquors, including tequila and gin. 
  • Know what a standard “drink” is: 12 ounces of beer (5% alcohol content); 5 ounces of wine (12% alcohol content); or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits or liquor (40% alcohol content) -- gin, rum, vodka, whiskey, etc.
  • Know consumption guidelines for healthy adults: one drink a day for women of all ages and men over age 65; up to two drinks a day for men under age 65.    
  • Don’t binge drink. For women, it’s those who drink more than four drinks in an outing and men who drink more than five.
  • Know that heavy drinking can lead to chronic diseases, including high blood pressure, cancer, pancreatitis, and the risk of becoming an alcoholic.
  • Never drink while pregnant. If you become pregnant, stop drinking alcohol.
  • Know the difference between “social drinking” and “problem drinking.”

Social drinkers typically consume alcohol in low-risk or rare occasions in a social setting to celebrate a birthday, wedding or New Year’s Eve. They can control their drinking and know when to stop drinking. They don’t regularly get intoxicated and never drive under the influence.  

Problem drinking doesn’t necessarily mean that a person has an addiction to or dependence on alcohol; it’s defined more by risky or unhealthy behaviors associated with their drinking.

Signs of a drinking problem can include: taking dangerous risks that can impact an individual’s life or the lives of others; not knowing when to stop drinking; getting drunk or blacking out; driving under the influence, and getting arrested due to behavior exhibited while intoxicated.

Know your limit when using alcohol and be aware of indicators that may show whether you may be abusing it. Talk to your kids about the dangers of underage drinking; drinking and driving and the health issues attributable to excessive drinking. Parents are reminded to set a good example for their kids about alcohol use. 

A record number of Michiganders died of alcohol-related causes in 2020, according to the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS). In 2020, there were 1,605 alcohol-induced deaths (a nearly 36% increase over 2019 and the highest number going back to at least 1980, the oldest MDHHS data available); and 1,658 deaths from chronic liver disease and cirrhosis (also a record number and a 15.5% increase over 2019). 

National Alcohol Awareness Month in America provides an opportunity to increase awareness of alcohol addiction and to bring understanding of alcohol’s causes, the effective treatments available, plus encouraging people that recovery is very possible. Alcohol Awareness Month was established in 1987 by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence to help communities reach out to the public and provide answers to end the stigma associated with alcohol abuse.

For more information and resources available, please visit: MDHHS - Treatment (michigan.gov).

The mission of the Michigan Liquor Control Commission (MLCC) is to make alcoholic beverages available for consumption while protecting the consumer and the general public through regulation of those involved in the sale and distribution of these alcohol beverage products.