April is Alcohol Awareness Month

Each April since 1987, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) sponsors Alcohol Awareness Month in order to increase public awareness and understanding, reduce stigma, and encourage local communities to focus on alcoholism and alcohol-related issues. This April, NCADD is highlighting the important public health issue of underage drinking, a problem with devastating individual, family, and community consequences.

Healthy Gallatin is working hard to address the issue of alcoholism, as well as substance abuse, in our community. Bozeman Deaconess Health Services, Community Health Partners, and Healthy Gallatin contracted with a firm to complete our second quantitative assessment of health indicators and behaviors. This assessment collected data specifically related to alcohol use in Gallatin, Madison, and Park County. The survey showed an increase in the percentage of excessive drinkers, but statistically, the data hasn’t changed significantly since the previous assessment in 2011. The only measure we did see a significant increase in is drinking and driving. Keeping this in mind, the new data states that 26.1% of respondents have drank to excess in the past 30 days. This puts us over the Healthy People 2020 target of 25.4% or lower.

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The Healthy Behaviors group (product of the Community Health Improvement Plan is working hard to address substance misuse across the county, including excessive alcohol consumption. However, we can’t do it without support from the community!

As part of Alcohol Awareness Month, we would like to challenge you, your family, and your friends to participate in Alcohol-Free Weekend, April 3-5. This event is designed to raise public awareness about the use of alcohol and how it may be affecting individuals, families, and the community. Use this time to enjoy the company of family and/or friends while staying alcohol-free. Be role models for teens by educating them on the consequences of excessive drinking and showing them that you can have fun without alcohol. For more information on the National Council on Alcoholism & Drug Dependence, visit http://ncadd.org/index.php.