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April is Alcohol Awareness Month


This news story was published on April 12, 2011.
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Alcohol is the primary substance abused by 61 percent of Iowans admitted to treatment.

Drinking too much alcohol can lead to health problems, including alcohol poisoning, hangovers, and an increased risk of heart disease. This April, during Alcohol Awareness Month, the Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) encourages all Iowans to take this time to learn about the dangers of alcohol abuse. “Alcohol abuse affects individuals and families in all Iowa communities,” said IDPH Director, Dr. Mariannette Miller-Meeks. “Alcoholism can be fatal, but treatment is available and it is effective.”

According to IDPH data, alcohol is the primary substance abused by 61 percent of Iowans admitted to treatment. The 2008 Iowa Youth Survey found of the nearly 98,000 Iowa 6th, 8th, and 11th graders who responded, 19 percent had used alcohol in the previous 30 days. One in four Iowa 11th graders reported binge drinking in the past 30 days, and 51 percent of young Iowa adults (18 to 25 years of age) reported binge drinking in the past month. The national average is 42 percent.
A recent Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) report shows that only 1.2 percent of the nation’s more than 7.4 million adults aged 21 to 64 with alcohol abuse problems think they could benefit from treatment. The report highlights the need to raise awareness about adult problem drinking, how to identify when someone has a problem, how to confront a problem drinker, and how to get help. If you answer “yes” to any of the following questions, you may have a problem with alcohol:

– Do you drink alone when you feel angry or sad?
– Does your drinking ever make you late for work?
– Does your drinking worry your family?
– Do you ever drink after telling yourself you won’t?
– Do you ever forget what you did while drinking?
– Do you get headaches or have a hangover after drinking?

If you are drinking too much, you can improve your health by cutting back or quitting. Keep track of how much you drink, avoid places where overdrinking occurs, and find new ways to deal with stress. If you are concerned about someone else’s drinking, offer to help. There are many pathways to help anyone with an alcohol problem, from self-help groups to more formal counseling. Go to www.idph.state.ia.us/bh/substance_abuse_treatment.asp or www.samhsa.gov/treatment/ for more information on sources of help for alcohol and other problems.||

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