Michigan Observes April as Alcohol Awareness Month

Contact: T.J. Bucholz (517) 241-2112
Agency: Community Health

April 7, 2005

The Michigan Department of Community Health is observing Alcohol Awareness Month this April to educate people about the problem of underage drinking and about alcohol preventive measures that can be taken by parents and community groups.

“In an era characterized by fast paced and often conflicting messages from the Internet and television, we know that positive role models can make a significant difference when influencing the values, beliefs, and behaviors of our youth,” said Yvonne Blackmond, Director of the Office of Drug Control Policy. “During Alcohol Awareness Month, I ask parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, teachers, and ministers to pledge to tell kids and adults about the harmful effects of alcohol abuse.” T

he prevention of underage drinking is vital because of its extremely harmful consequences. Alcohol is a major factor in motor vehicle crashes, homicides, suicides, and unintentional injuries, which are some of the leading causes of death among youth.

“The need for continued underage drinking prevention efforts in Michigan has never been more important,” said Janet Olszewski, Director of the Michigan Department of Community Health. “For this reason, we are joining with the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), and Leadership to Keep Children Alcohol Free, to promote Alcohol Awareness Month.”

This year’s Alcohol Awareness Month theme is “Together, We Can Stop Underage Drinking!” The theme highlights the need for collective action to increase underage drinking prevention efforts in communities nationwide.

According to the results of the 2003 Michigan Youth Risk Behavior Survey (YRBS), a statewide survey of Michigan high school students published by the Michigan Department of Education, 76 percent of high school aged youth reported having drank alcohol at least one time, 44 percent reported having at least one drink in the past 30 days, and 27 percent reported binge drinking during the past month.

“Every day, parents, caregivers, teachers, and other caring adults have extraordinary opportunities to turn ordinary times with children into special, teachable moments that can keep them healthy and alcohol free,”said SAMHSA Administrator Charles Curie. “SAMHSA, NCADD, and the Leadership suggest the following prescription for our children’s health: From the time they are very young, talk with them openly and often about the dangers of underage drinking. Join with others in your community to establish and enforce policies limiting youth access to alcohol.”