April is Alcohol Awareness Month. And you are certainly aware of alcohol--that often intoxicating beverage legal to those 21+, which can cause euphoria, reduce anxiety, drunkenness, and more. And we want to help raise awareness of the state of alcohol in our state of New Hampshire. While some may view having a beer, or attending your first party with "booze" at the lake as a passageway to adulthood--it's not. Rites of passage don't come with threats to health, freedom and penalties.
An important note: While lately, headlines have recorded the very serious opiate trouble in our state: New Hampshire: Ground Zero for Opioids, says U.S.News and World Report. And When Combating the Opioid Crisis in Rural NH, It's No Easy Fight, by New Hampshire Public Radio--one cannot forget the problems that alcohol can, and does still cause in the 603.
The following statements about alcohol, are straight from the NH media, or national media about New Hampshire:
- New Hampshire Considers Lowering Drinking Age to 20 read the Jan. 23, 2018 headline in U.S. News & World Report -- this goal to encourage younger drinkers was defeated
- Sunapee police arrest 38 teenagers at underage drinking party, broadcast the Concord Monitor headline on June 23, 2017
- And lest you think under age drinking is town-centric, this is from the Jan. 2, 2018 Portsmouth Herald, Teen charged after tip about Rye party
- 3 Charged After Underage Alcohol House Party: Concord Police Log, Concord Patch, Feb. 23, 2018
More generally, these statements can be game-changers:
- Studies show that a person who starts drinking before age 15 is four times more likely to develop alcoholism than someone who delays drinking until age 21.
- Each year, about 5,000 people under the age of 21 die as a result of underage drinking. Here is the breakdown:
- 1,900 deaths from motor vehicle accidents
- 1,600 homicides
- 300 suicides
- Hundreds of alcohol-related deaths and injuries from drowning, falls and other accidents
By all means, encourage rites of passage: Just not those that will put your son, daughter or underage friend in danger.
Founded in 1987 by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD), Alcohol Awareness Month was established in 1987. It aims to reduce the stigma often associated with alcoholism by encouraging community outreach with information about alcohol, alcoholism and recovery
Partnership for a Drug-Free NH in conjunction with the NCADD would like to encourage parents, or responsible parties to take advantage of "teachable moments" to help kids and teens learn about underage drinking. It's not so much about having "the big talk," but about being there for them when the issues come up -- on TV, at movies, on the radio; about celebrities or sports figures, or about their friends. And, while it's not about having "the big talk," it can be about having lots of little talks.
In helping change attitudes, help kids understand that drinking isn't a "rite of passage." It's not a way to be independent, "cool," or to fit in socially. They can learn that alcohol is not necessary to have a great time. Non-use of alcohol is a healthy and viable option . You can learn to respect the decision not to drink alcohol. In the very least, it can help keep you healthy, free from fines, and out of the headlines.
The Partnership for a Drug-Free New Hampshire is a nonprofit organization that strives to create and promote consistent statewide messages about the problems and solutions of substance misuse in New Hampshire through engagement of partners, members and champions. Visit drugfreenh.org for the following alcohol awareness aids:
● Download Alcohol Awareness Month Guide with ideas on how you can celebrate with your neighborhood or community