Fort Detrick
ASAP – Prevention Education

Fort Detrick
Community Support Center
Bldg. 1520, Freedman Drive
Phone: 301-619-2120

Forest Glen Annex
2460 Linden Lane
Suite 10 B
Phone: 301-295-8115

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

April is Alcohol Awareness Month

Since 1987, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) has sponsored Alcohol Awareness Month. The goal of the month is to increase public awareness and understanding, reduce stigma and encourage local entities to focus on alcoholism, as well as alcohol related issues. The 2014 Alcohol Awareness theme is: "Help for Today. Hope for Tomorrow."

The focus on this year's Alcohol Awareness month is underage drinking, a problem which has individual, family and community consequences. Alcohol use by underage individuals contributes to traffic fatalities, violence, suicide, overdose, unsafe sexual behaviors, legal implications and other problem behaviors. Each year, over 6,000 individuals under the age of 21 die as a result of an alcohol-related incident. Thousands more under age individuals are injured.

The reduction of underage drinking is essential to securing a healthy future for youth and requires an effort from all, including: parents, schools, community organizations, business leaders, government agencies, and alcohol manufacturers. Throughout the month, the Army Substance Abuse Program will focus on the dangers of alcohol use in an effort to raise awareness, by offering related trainings, activities and sending out daily tips.

Alcohol Awareness Tip #1: According to the CDC, each year there are 88,000 deaths that are attributed to excessive alcohol consumption, making alcohol the 3rd leading lifestyle-related cause of death for the nation.

Alcohol Awareness Tip #2: In the United States, a standard drink is any drink that contains 0.6 oz. of pure alcohol, which is equivalent to:

12 oz. beer
8 oz. malt liquor
5 oz. of wine
1.5 oz. of distilled spirits or liquor

Alcohol Awareness Tip #3: Binge drinking is the most common form of excessive alcohol consumption. By definition binge drinking is 4 or more drinks during a single occasion (or approximately a 2 hour period of time) for a female and 5 or more drinks during a single occasion for a male.

Alcohol Awareness Tip #4: According to the CDC, 1 in 6 U.S. adults binge drinks about four times per month, consuming an average of 8 drinks per binge. While binge drinking is most common among young adults, aged 18-34; individuals aged 65 years and older report binge drinking more often, an average of 5-6 times per month.

Alcohol Awareness Tip #5: According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, the critical signs and symptoms of alcohol poisoning include: mental confusion, stupor, coma, or inability to wake up; vomiting, seizures, slowed breathing (fewer than 8 breaths per minute), irregular breathing (10 seconds or more between breaths) and hypothermia, bluish skin color, paleness.

Alcohol Awareness Tip #6: According to the CDC, excessive alcohol use has immediate effects on an individual that may increase the risk of many harmful health conditions, including: unintentional injuries (traffic injuries, falls, drowning, burns and unintentional firearm injuries), violence (partner violence and child mistreatment), high risk sexual behaviors, miscarriage and stillbirth, and alcohol poisoning (high blood alcohol levels that suppress the central nervous system and may cause loss of consciousness, low blood pressure and body temperature, coma respiration depression, or death).

Alcohol Awareness Tip #7: According to the CDC, binge drinkers are 14 times more likely to report alcohol-impaired driving than non-binge drinkers.

Alcohol Awareness Tip #8: According to the CDC, the prevalence of binge drinking among men is twice the prevalence among women. Approximately 92% of U.S. adults who drink excessively report binge drinking within the past 30 days.

Alcohol Awareness Tip #9: According to the CDC, long-term health risks of excessive alcohol use can lead to the development of chronic diseases, neurological impairments and social problems, including: neurological problems (dementia, stroke, neuropathy), cardiovascular problems (myocardial infarction, cardiomyopathy, atrial fibrillation and hypertension), psychiatric problems (depression, anxiety and suicide), social problems (unemployment, lost productivity, family problems), cancer (mouth, throat, esophagus, liver, colon, breast), liver disease (alcoholic hepatitis, cirrhosis), and other gastrointestinal problems (pancreatitis and gastritis).

Alcohol Awareness Tip #10: According to the CDC each day, nearly 30 people in the United States die in motor vehicle crashes that involve an alcohol-impaired driver. This amounts to one death every 48 minutes. The annual cost of alcohol-related accidents total more than $51 billion.

Alcohol Awareness Tip #11: According to United Health, alcohol can damage every organ in your body, even if you don't consume it in large quantities. If an individual consumes large quantities of alcohol, it may cause damage to your heart, liver and brain. When alcohol enters your brain, it numbs nerve cells, slowing their ability to send messages to other parts of your body.

Alcohol also depresses the activity of your heart muscle and speeds up your pulse rate. When an individual consumes too much alcohol, fats accumulate in the liver, resulting in a condition known as fatty liver. Continual heavy drinking rapidly produces 2 stages of liver disease: cirrhosis and alcoholic hepatitis. Individuals with these diseases experience appetite and weight loss, enlarged and inflamed liver, and accumulation of fluid in the abdomen. Cirrhosis usually leads to liver failure or liver cancer. Other possible effects of heavy drinking are heart failure, varicose veins in the esophagus, stomach bleeding, and inflammation of the pancreas.

Alcohol Awareness Tip #12: According to the Alcohol Abuse Health Center, there are 12 specific health risks associated with chronic, heavy drinking. These include: anemia, cancer, cardiovascular disease, cirrhosis, dementia, depression, seizures, gout, high blood pressure, infectious disease, nerve damage and pancreatitis.

Alcohol Awareness Tip #13: According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc., approximately 32% of fatal car crashes involve an intoxicated driver or pedestrian. Consuming alcohol and driving a car DO NOT GO TOGETHER! The human brain constantly deals with many things and process countless data all the time. Alcohol affects an individual's attentiveness and their ability to make quick decisions on the road, react to changes in the environment and execute specific, often difficult maneuvers behind the wheel.

Despite increased public awareness, drinking and drugged driving continues:

  • Approximately 13,000 people are killed each year in alcohol-related accidents
  • Hundreds of thousands more are injured
  • Alcohol-related crashes cost American taxpayers over $100 billion per year
  • Over 1.4 million arrests for DWI each year (less than 1% of 159 million self-reported episodes of alcohol-impaired driving) and 780,000 are convicted
  • Two-thirds of those sentenced to incarceration are repeat offenders

All states in the U.S. have adopted .08% BAC (blood alcohol concentration) as the legal limit for operating a motor vehicle for drivers aged 21 years or older.

Alcohol Awareness Tip #14: According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc., drinking and driving are not the only alcohol-related risk of death. Annually, there are about 100,000 deaths which are alcohol-related. Of this number, only about 13.5% are directly related to drinking and driving.

Approximately 86.5% of all alcohol-related deaths are pedestrian accidents, falls, fires, homicides, alcohol-overdose, suicides and health-related deaths.

Alcohol Awareness Tip #15: According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc., out of millions of individuals who are employed full time in the United States, approximately fifteen million are heavy drinkers of alcohol, which results in a high cost on work organizations, as a result of increased absenteeism, health problems, and an increased risk of harm to themselves or others.

In the workplace, the impact of alcoholism focuses on four major issues:

  • Premature death/fatal accidents
  • Injuries/accident rates
  • Absenteeism/extra sick leave
  • Loss of production

Additional problem areas can include:

  • Tardiness/sleeping on the job
  • Theft
  • Poor decision making
  • Loss of efficiency
  • Lower morale of co-workers
  • Increased likelihood of having trouble with co-workers/supervisors or tasks
  • Higher turnover
  • Training of new employees
  • Disciplinary procedures

Two specific kinds of drinking behavior significantly contribute to the level of work-performance problems: drinking right before or during working hours and excessive or binge drinking the night before. Research indicates that the majority of alcohol-related work-performance problems are associated with non-dependent drinkers, who occasionally consume too much alcohol. Additionally, family members living with someone's alcoholism also suffer significant job performance related problems, including: poor job performance, lack of focus, absenteeism, increased health-related problems and use of health insurance.

Alcohol Awareness Tip #16: According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc., Growing older brings on many changes in health, lifestyle, roles and support. In addition, growing older brings: physical pain and loss of mobility, increased stress levels and loneliness.

Alcohol and prescription drug problems, among adults 60 and older is one of the fastest growing health problems facing the United States; however, the situation remains underestimated, under identified, under diagnosed, and under-treated. As a result: thousands of older adults who need treatment and do not receive it.

FACT: 4 out of 5 seniors seeking treatment for substance abuse have problems with alcohol vs. other types of drugs.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and the American Geriatrics Society, people 65 or older are engaged in risky drinking if they consume more than seven alcoholic drinks per week or more than three drinks on a single day. It is highly recommended that the single-occasion drink limit should be no more than two drinks for men and one drink for women.

FACT: 9% of Medicare beneficiaries (age 65 and older) drink more than 30 drinks a month and more than 4 drinks in any one occasion.

Drinking at an older age can have additional negative effects, such as:

  • Complicate treatment for medical conditions
  • Cause a range of medical problems associated with alcoholism
  • Reduce the ability to function
  • Increase the risk of accidents or falling down
  • Negatively interact with prescription medications.

Alcohol Awareness Tip #17: According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc., there is a strong correlation between alcohol and crime, for both offenders and victims.

FACT: 5.3 million adults — 36% of those under correctional supervision at the time — were drinking at the time of their conviction offense Excessive drinking leads to criminal behavior: the US Department of Justice (DOJ) reports that a majority of criminal offenders were under the influence of alcohol alone when they committed their crimes. Federal research indicates that approximately 40% of convicted murderers being held in either jail or State prison, alcohol use was a factor in the homicide.

FACT: Alcohol is a factor in 40% of all violent crimes today.

Statistics showing correlation between alcohol and crime (from the NCADD Fact Sheet Alcohol and Crime):

  • Among violent crimes, the offender is far more likely to have been drinking than under the influence of other drugs, with the exception of robberies, where other drugs are likely to have been used such as alcohol.
  • Alcohol is more likely to be a factor in violence, where the attacker and the victim know each other. Two-thirds of victims who were attacked by an intimate (including a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend) reported that alcohol had been involved, and only 31% of victimizations by strangers are alcohol-related.
  • Nearly 500,000 incidents between intimates involve offenders who have been drinking; in addition, 118,000 incidents of family violence (excluding spouses) involve alcohol, as do 744,000 incidents among acquaintances.
  • 1.4 million incidents of alcohol-related violence are committed against strangers.
  • Individuals under age 21 were the victims in just over 13% of incidents of alcohol-related violence, and the offenders in nearly 9%.
  • 70% of alcohol-related incidents of violence occur in the home with greatest frequency at 11:00 pm. 20% of these incidents involve the use of a weapon other than hands, fists or feet.

Alcohol Awareness Tip #18: According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc., alcohol abuse and alcoholism can affect all aspects of your life. Long-term alcohol use can cause serious health complications, which may affect every organ in your body. Alcohol may also damage your emotional stability, finances, career, and impact your family, friends and co-workers.

To gain a better understanding of how devastating alcoholism is in our country, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC):

  • 79,000 deaths are annually attributed to excessive alcohol use
  • Alcoholism is the 3rd leading lifestyle-related cause of death in the nation
  • Up to 40% of all hospital beds in the United States (except for those being used by maternity and intensive care patients) are being used to treat health conditions that are related to alcohol consumption.

Alcohol Awareness Tip #19: According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc., caffeinated alcoholic beverages or alcohol energy drinks (AED's) are premixed beverages that contain not only alcohol but may also include caffeine and other stimulant drugs. These beverages are sold in tall, narrow cans similar to non-alcoholic energy drinks, which are popular drinks among teens. A typical beverage contains about as much caffeine as a large cup of coffee, along with additives like guarana and ginseng, which can speed up the central nervous system.

Drinking alcohol and energy drinks together has become a popular trend and is often marketed to youth, often through "new media" marketing campaigns and "grassroots" strategies using youth-oriented imagery and slogans. These alcohol energy drinks have high alcohol content, sometimes as high as 12% as compared with 5% for a typical can of beer.

The main concern is that mixing energy drinks with alcohol can lead to "wide-awake drunkenness," where caffeine masks the feeling of drunkenness but does not decrease actual alcohol-related impairment. As a result, you feel less impaired than you really may be, which can lead to consumption of even more alcohol or engaging in risky activities like drunk driving.

To date, there is no regulation on the amount of caffeine in energy drinks and no requirements related to the labeling of contents or possible health risks. The caffeine content in these beverages is not usually listed on the can.

Alcohol Awareness Tip #20: According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc., as many of you know, parenting isn't easy, especially when it comes to talking to children about alcohol and drugs. Many parents hope to avoid the subject entirely; however, parents may have the ability to have a greater influence upon their children than they think when it comes to the topic of drugs and alcohol. Research indicates children who have conversations with their parents and learn more about the dangers of alcohol and drug use are 50% less likely to use alcohol and drugs than those who don’t have such conversations.

No one wants their child to have a problem with alcohol or drugs, and as a parent you can be a primary source of positive and reliable information. Taking advantage of these "teachable moments" when alcohol or drug issues come up is important. It's not about "the big talk," it's about being there for them when the issues come up on TV, at the movies, on the radio, social media, news events about celebrities or sports figures, about their friends or in conversation.

It is Never Too Young To Start these conversations, a parent has more influence over their kids' attitudes and decisions about alcohol and drugs before they start. Children go through many different stages as they grow and mature and what's appropriate to tell an 18-year-old and a 9-year-old about alcohol and drugs can vary quite a bit; however, it's never too early to begin the conversation. The more informed children are, the more these issues can be discussed as "matter of fact" issues, the better off they'll be.

Here are some basic Guidelines for Parents to assist you:

  • Listen Before You Talk — Encourage Conversation
  • Talk to Your Child and Ask Open Ended Questions — Talk to your child regularly — about their feelings, their friends, their activities
  • Be Involved
  • Set Expectations, Limits and Consequences
  • Be Honest and Open
  • Be Positive
  • Know Your Family History

Alcohol Awareness Tip #21: According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc., some people become addicted to alcohol and drugs and others do not, which is a question that often perplexes society. When a person decides to use alcohol or drugs, this is generally based upon a choice, which may be influenced by their environment (peers, family, and availability). Once an individual uses alcohol or drugs, the risk of developing alcoholism or drug dependence is largely influenced by genetics.

FACT: The single most reliable indicator of risk for future alcohol and drug problems is FAMILY HISTORY of substance abuse.

Research has shown conclusively that family history of alcoholism or drug addiction is in part genetic and not just solely the result of the family environment.

What do we mean by family history?: Although the definition of "family history" has differed among researchers, in this instance the definition is one or both of the person's parent has had a problem with substance abuse.

What About Genetics and Disease?: Genes provide the information that directs how our bodies respond at the cellular level. Research indicates that over 99% of our genes are the same and the 1% that are different account for visible differences (hair color, height, etc.) and invisible differences, such as our risk of diabetes, heart disease or addiction to alcohol or drugs.

Our Health: NOT Nature vs. Nurture BUT, Nature and Nurture.

Individual health is the result of the interaction between genes and environment. As an example, our risk of developing high blood pressure is influenced by both genetics and environment, including diet, stress, and exercise.

Genetically Complex: Some diseases, like sickle cell anemia or cystic fibrosis, are caused by an error in a single gene; however, most diseases, like alcoholism and drug dependence, are considered genetically complex and involve variations in a number of different genes.

Alcohol Awareness Tip #22: According to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc., recovery From addiction is a family affair As a family disease, those who have been affected by addiction may take many years to recover, as they rebuild and stabilize their lives, independent of what the alcohol and drug addicted family member does. Although, it can seem overwhelming, but it helps to keep in mind that commitment to the recovery process is also a commitment to the overall well being of the whole family.

Constructive and active family engagement in the recovery process is essential if the family is to heal from the destructive impact of addiction. To move on in hope, families need a variety of supports, information and skills including the following:

  1. End the Isolation and Connect: By joining an education or support group.
  2. Education on Addiction and the Family: Understanding how addiction affects both the addicted person and the family is an essential foundation to moving on.
  3. Learn Communication Skills: Active addiction destroys family communication. Developing these skills is essential to family recovery.
  4. Detachment and Responsibility for Self: Learning to detach with love and focus on assuming responsibility for our own behavior.
  5. Stop Old Behaviors: Many of our old ways of coping are ineffective and contribute to the problem not the solution: enabling, denial, blaming and minimizing the problem.
  6. Engage the Children: As a parent, depending on ages, you play a critically important role in providing support and protection for the children. But, engaging them in their own recovery is very important.
  7. Build on Resilience: Surviving active addiction to alcohol and drugs is never easy. Use the recovery process as a means of building on your personal and family strengths.
  8. Engage in Personal and Family Activities: Working alone and together to find activities that serve as a source of personal and family fulfillment (ex. volunteering)
  9. Understand and Prepare for Relapse: Relapse into old behaviors is as real for family members as it is for those addicted to alcohol and drugs. Family members need to develop strategies for dealing with their own relapse issues and other challenges.

People in recovery from alcoholism and drug addiction, their families, and their children can and often do achieve optimum levels of health and functioning, but this achievement is best measured in years rather than days, weeks, or months. In the process of recovery, families may be strengthened through increased levels of genuine intimacy and families are better able to cope with life's challenges. Over time, the discipline of recovery can bring the family together to be the healthiest it has ever been!

Today, family recovery is a reality for millions of Americans today, and the hope, help, and healing of family recovery has become the most powerful way to break the intergenerational cycle of alcoholism and addiction in the family.