MDCH Recognizes April As Alcohol Awareness Month

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

April 12, 2007

In conjunction with Governor Jennifer M. Granholm, the Office of Drug Control Policy (ODCP) within the Michigan Department of Community Health (MDCH) is recognizing April as Alcohol Awareness Month in an effort to bring attention to alcohol abuse.

"There are a number of problems that revolve around the use and abuse of alcohol within our state," said Don Allen, ODCP Director. "We are extremely concerned with alcohol being a factor in motor vehicle crashes, unintentional injuries, homicides, suicides and the high incidents of sexual assault and date rapes occurring in both high schools and colleges."

Nationally, alcohol is typically a factor in four leading causes of death (motor vehicle crashes, unintentional injuries, homicide, and suicide) among persons ages 10-24. There are approximately 9.7 million current drinkers in the U.S. between the ages of 12-20, with alcohol being the most frequently used drug by high school seniors. Those who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependency than those who begin drinking at the legal age of 21.

Alcohol abuse is linked to as many as two-thirds of all sexual assaults and dates rapes of teens and college students and is a major contributor to unprotected sex.

Younger populations are also disproportionately affected by alcohol related motor vehicle crashes with males between the ages of 21-29 having the highest death rate.

Jumping nearly 8 percent from 2005, approximately 40 percent of all motor vehicle crash deaths throughout the state in 2006 involved alcohol, other drugs, or both. As part of the Strategic Prevention Framework State Incentive Grant, Michigan identified alcohol-related traffic crash deaths as a priority problem to be addressed heavily throughout the state during the next two years.

During the month of April, parents, educators, and community leaders are reminded to help educate those around them of the dangers of alcohol abuse and the tragedies of underage drinking, binge drinking, and drinking while operating a motor vehicle.

To learn more about the state's prevention efforts or for links to treatment programs within your area, please visit the MDCH site at http://www.michigan.gov/mdch and click on Mental Health and Substance Abuse.