April 7, 2010

State of Alabama
Press Release: Mental Health, Department of


MONTGOMERY – Sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, each April is designated Alcohol Awareness Month to emphasize the serious problems that result from abuse of America’s most accepted drug – alcohol. Although alcohol abuse in prevalent within many demographic groups, most worrisome is the fact that alcohol is the most widely used substance of abuse among America’s youth.

More than a quarter of youth aged 12-20 (27.6 percent) drank alcohol in the past month, according to a survey by SAMHSA. Alcohol contributes to the three leading causes of death among 12-20-year olds (unintentional injury, homicide and suicide). Research also shows that those who start drinking before age 15 are six times more likely to have alcohol problems as adults than those who start drinking at age 21 or older.

In Alabama, more than 18.7 percent of people aged 12 or older (or approximately 715,000 people) participated in binge drinking at least once in the 30 days, according to a 2007 study by SAMHSA. For this reason, ADMH joins national organizations in encouraging people to get the facts about alcohol abuse. ADMH Associate Commissioner for Substance Abuse Services Kent Hunt says, “This effort is not designed to criticize the responsible use of alcohol but to define abuse, identify the resulting consequences and publicize sources available for help.”

According to the American Medical Association, alcohol of any type is a very dangerous drug and the health and social consequences of its use can be harmful to children in many ways. The brain goes through dynamic change during adolescence, and alcohol can interfere with its normal development. In school, adolescent drinkers have poor academic performance, score worse on vocabulary and memory retrieval tests, and have trouble recalling verbal information. Young people who drink have an increased risk of social problems, depression, suicidal thoughts, and strokes.

In a major effort to combat the epidemic of underage drinking, SAMHSA and the Ad Council recently launched a new series of national public service advertisements to encourage parents to talk to their children about drinking alcohol at an early age. The campaign and study are being released in conjunction with Alcohol Awareness Month and as part of the Surgeon General’s “Call to Action to Prevent and Reduce Underage Drinking.”


For more information about the subject of this press release, please contact ADMH’s Office of Public Information and Community Relations at 334-242-3417.

For general information regarding substance abuse services in the state of Alabama, please visit the  Alabama Department of Mental Health Web site at  www.mh.alabama.gov, or call the Division of Substance Abuse Services at 334-242-3961.

Information about Alcohol Awareness Month can be found by visiting the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Web site at www.samhsa.org.

For more information on the American Medical Association visit www.ama-assn.org.


  • For more information, visit http://mh.alabama.gov
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