National Alcohol Awareness Month (April 2014)

04/2014

Adolescents use alcohol more frequently than they do all other illicit drugs combined, according to the 2012 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The study found the following rates of alcohol use among adolescents: In 2012 about 9.3 million persons aged 12 to 20 reported drinking alcohol in the past month. Approximately 5.9  million were binge drinkers, and 1.7 million were heavy drinkers. Also in the same year, there were  889,000 youths aged 12 to 17 who needed treatment for an alcohol use problem, but only 76,000 received treatment at a specialty facility leaving about  814,000 youths who needed but did not receive treatment.

When a family member, caregiver, or friend abuses alcohol, they are not the only ones who may be adversely affected. Children of parents who abuse alcohol are at a greater risk for trauma including verbal, physical, and sexual abuse, and neglect. Children of Alcoholics (COAs) exhibit more symptoms of depression and anxiety, and have lower self-esteem than do children who do not have an alcoholic caregiver. According to the February 2012 issue of Data Spotlight (from the Center for Behavioral Health Statistics and Quality), in 2009, 7.5 million children under 18 were living with a parent who had an alcohol use disorder. 

In recognition of alcohol's dangerous and long-lasting influence among adolescents, adults, and families, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence has declared April as Alcohol Awareness Month. Parents, caregivers, and members of the community can play a key role in preventing alcohol abuse in children. The NCTSN has compiled a list of helpful resources on alcohol awareness for educators, families and communities, mental health and medical professionals, policy makers, and youth. Many of the resources provided here include talking points and advice on how to approach the subject of alcohol abuse with adolescents.

Page Contents

Featured NCTSN Products

Helping Your Teen Cope with Traumatic Stress and Substance Abuse (2008) (PDF)
    >En Español: Ayudando a Su Adolescente a Enfrentarse al Estrés Traumático y Abuso de Sustancias (2008) (PDF)
A guide for parents and caregivers dealing with an adolescent who has been exposed to trauma and may be at risk for or currently abusing drugs and/or alcohol.

Understanding the Links between Adolescent Trauma and Substance Abuse: A Toolkit for Providers (2nd Edition) (2008) (PDF)
Explores the complex connections between traumatic stress and substance abuse; provides guidelines for identifying, engaging, and treating adolescents suffering from these co-occurring problems.

Using Drugs to Deal with Stress and Trauma: A Reality Check for Teens (2008) (PDF)
Provides information to help teens understand traumatic experiences and some of the reasons behind drug use.
    >En Español: El Uso de Drogas Para Manejar el Estrés y el Trauma: Una Dosis de Realidad para los Jóvenes (2008) (PDF)

Youth with Trauma Histories, PTSD, and Co-Occurring Substance Abuse (2008) (Mediasite)
A presentation that focuses on the impact of child and adolescent traumatic stress in the development and behavior of youth; the relationship between child and adolescent traumatic stress and co-occurring disorders, primarily substance abuse; and assessment and treatment strategies for youth affected by trauma and substance abuse.

 

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For Educators

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

 

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For Families and Communities

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

  • Alcohol and Drug Addiction Happens in the Best of Families...and It Hurts (PDF)
    A brochure that discusses these addictions in the context of the family and explains how all family members are affected. Includes additional resources.
  • Start Talking Before They Start Drinking (PDF) 
    Explains underage drinking, what you need to say, what you need to do, activities including questions and answers, and additional resources.
  • StopAlcoholAbuse.gov
    A “gateway to comprehensive research and resources on the prevention of underage drinking.” Materials provided by the fifteen Federal agencies of the Interagency Coordinating Committee on the Prevention of Underage Drinking.
    • Stop Underage Drinking 
      Discussion guides, resource materials, and statistics on underage drinking, its consequences, and how to help prevent it. Provides parents and caregivers with suggestions on ways to become good role models, to establish open communication with their youth, to provide their children with sound advice and support, and more.
  • The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Prevent Underage Drinking: What it Means to YOU—A Guide to Action for Families (2007) (PDF) 
    Explains some of the causes and harmful effects of underage drinking, and its consequences for the individuals, their families, and communities. Offers families tools they can use to take action against underage drinking. Includes additional resources.
  • When It's Not Your Kid, How Do You Deal With Drug Use and Drinking? (2004) (PDF)
    A brochure for adults who serve as role models and mentors for youth. Outlines why adults should care about all children—not just their own. Explains the science behind addiction, what steps can be taken to help a teen with a substance abuse problem, who to talk to for help, and how to discuss the problem with parents and caregivers. Includes additional resources.

 

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For Mental Health and Medical Professionals

National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA)
A national nonprofit organization working on behalf of children of alcohol- and drug-dependent parents. The website provides links to NACoA products including videos, booklets, posters, and other educational materials to assist those intervening for and supporting children of alcoholics.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

  • The Surgeon General's Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking (2007) (PDF)
    Provides an overview of the scope of alcohol abuse including statistics on alcohol abuse in adolescents. Explains the effects of alcohol use in adolescent development, and methods for preventing and reducing alcohol use and its disorders in adolescents; suggests ways to take action.
  • Too Smart to Start: Community Leaders
    Provides community leaders, professionals, and volunteers with best practices on helping youth to avoid underage drinking and its consequences. Includes a comprehensive resource guide of publications to support a prevention program for alcohol use aimed at preteens.

 

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For Policy Makers

Substance Abuse Policy Research Program
Funds “substance abuse policy research that can help reduce the harm caused by the use of tobacco, alcohol, and drugs in the United States.”

 

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For Youth

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
“Part of the National Institutes of Health, the NIAAA is the primary U.S. agency for conducting and supporting research on the causes, consequences, prevention, and treatment of alcohol abuse, alcoholism, and alcohol problems.”

  • College Drinking — Changing the Culture
    Resources for college students and their parents, college presidents, high school students and their parents, and high school administrators. Focuses on “research-based information on issues related to alcohol abuse and binge drinking among college students.”
  • The CoolSpot.gov
    A website developed by the NIAAA for kids aged 11 to 13 at risk for alcohol abuse. Provides facts and statistics about alcohol consumption, strategies for coping with stress (e.g., resisting peer pressure), quizzes, games, expert advice, and resources for more help.

National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign
Created in 1998 by the United States Congress “to prevent and reduce youth drug use . . . [with] two distinct areas of focus: a teen-targeted Above the Influence (ATI) Campaign, and a young adult-targeted Anti-Meth Campaign.”

  • Above the Influence
    A website geared toward youth who are at risk for or are already abusing alcohol and other drugs. Includes drug facts, how to recognize negative influences and make smarter decisions, real-life stories of youth struggling with and rising above addiction (photos and videos), and where to get help.

Nemours Foundation—A Children’s Health System

 

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Resources on Children of Alcoholics

Al-Anon/Alateen
Offers hope and help to friends and families of alcoholics. Meetings are held worldwide for members. The website is available in English, Spanish, and French.

Center for Substance Abuse Treatment
A SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) center that “promotes the quality and availability of community-based substance abuse treatment services for individuals and families who need them.”

National Association for Children of Alcoholics (NACoA)
A national nonprofit organization working on behalf of children of alcohol- and drug-dependent parents. The website provides links to NACoA products including videos, booklets, posters, and other educational materials to assist those intervening for and supporting children of alcoholics.

  • Children of Alcoholics: A Toolkit for Educators (2001) (PDF)
    A kit that provides basic information about family addiction and its impact, as well as ways to help children affected with this pervasive public health issue.
  • It's Not Your Fault!  (2008) (PDF)
    A brochure designed for children of substance abusers. Includes facts about alcoholism and ways children can make life better for themselves, plus additional resources including information on Alateen.

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA)
“Part of the National Institutes of Health, the NIAAA is the primary U.S. agency for conducting and supporting research on the causes, consequences, prevention, and treatment of alcohol abuse, alcoholism, and alcohol problems.”

SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration)

  • Children of Alcoholics: A Guide to Community Action (2004)
    “Provides materials to raise awareness of the effects that alcohol abuse and alcoholism can have on children and families. Includes talking points, a fact sheet, story ideas, drop-in articles, print and radio public service announcements, and other resources.”

 

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