April is Alcohol Awareness Month
- Be Aware
- Be Proactive
- Be Involved
- Be Healthy
Pledge with us to start conversations with your kids and loved ones to spread awareness of the dangers of underage drinking.
Talk Early, Talk Often: Parents Can Make a Difference in Teen Alcohol Use
Alcoholism is New Mexico's top public health issue
This month, we are highlighting the causes and prevention of New Mexico’s top public health problem—alcoholism (also known as alcohol dependence). Parents play a critical role in helping kids gain a better understanding of the dangers of underage drinking, and the impact it can have on their lives.
This year’s National Council of Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) theme is: “Talk Early, Talk Often: Parents Can Make a Difference in Teen Alcohol Use”.
Start a Conversation
As a parent, you play a significant role and can be the go-to source of positive and reliable information for your teen when teachable moments present themselves. Be watchful for these opportunities—on TV, at the movies, on the radio, or in conversation with their friends. As a parent, teach your children about alcohol misuse and help them build coping skills. Tell them that stress, anger, loneliness, and peer pressure are a part of life and should not cause them to rely on liquor for relaxation. Research shows that when parents talk early and often to children on the subject, 50% are less likely to use alcohol. It’s never too early to begin the conversation so don’t miss an opportunity to talk. Here are some tips by NCADD to help you:
- Listen Before You Talk: Encourage conversation. You, as parents, “have all the answers” and are sometimes so anxious to share your wisdom or opinion that you forget to take the time to listen. For kids, knowing that parents are listening is very important.
- Be Involved: Get to know your child’s friends and continue to educate your child about the importance of good health –emotional, psychological, and physical.
- Ask Open-Ended Questions: Talk to your child regularly about their feelings, their friends, and their activities. Avoid, as much as you can, questions that have a simple yes or no response.
- Set Expectations and Consequences: Talk about consequences and be clear about what will happen if the rules are broken.
Reduce Stigma to Encourage Treatment
Alcoholism is a preventable disease and this month we are banding together to encourage people who are already misusing or dependent on alcohol to seek treatment. Pledge with us to reduce the stigma associated with alcohol dependence, as we work to remove the barriers to treatment and recovery. Be aware of your friends and family members’ experiences, and commit to helping those who suffer from the disease find treatment. What comes to your mind when you think about alcoholism? The way that alcohol dependence is portrayed in movies and television is only a quarter of the truth. Alcoholism affects many of us, taking different forms and often progressing over time. Taking the 72-hour challenge will help reveal the level of dependence you might have on alcohol yourself.
An important part of Alcohol Awareness Month is choosing three alcohol-free days during a weekend in April. The challenge is to stop drinking from Friday through Monday, and then gauge symptoms of discomfort or cravings. If your body has become used to the continual presence of alcohol, suddenly stopping can cause physical effects, such as sweating, nausea, headaches, and trouble sleeping. If you struggled during those 72 hours without alcohol, it could be a sign of alcohol dependency.
Throw A Clean Party
Use the month of April to throw alcohol-free, clean, and healthy parties for adults. Invite friends, neighbors, and family over to enjoy social gatherings without any trace of liquor. Serve kombucha, mocktails, club soda, and booze-free beer to set an example.
BHSD Role in Preventing Alcohol Misuse in Adults and Youth
To address New Mexico’s substance use issues, the NM Office of Substance Abuse Prevention (OSAP) in FY21 funded 40 prevention programs in 17 of 33 NM counties and three tribal communities, as well as by local partners with independent funding that covered counties having over 92% of the state’s population. OSAP provides around substance misuse including:
- Underage Drinking
- Binge Drinking for youth and adults
- DWI for youth and adults
- Tobacco use for youth and adults