Recognizing April As Alcohol Awareness Month

Recognizing April As Alcohol Awareness Month
 Alcohol is the most widely misused substance among South Carolina’s youth.  Alcohol use is a major cause of loss of life for people under 21, and alcohol-related car crashes are the leading cause of those deaths.  Statistics show that 7.5% of students have driven after drinking in the past month.  The months of April and May are typically viewed as relatively high-risk times during the year for an increase in youth substance use surrounding prom and graduation events.  This year is a little different due to the cancelation of all such events because schools are closed due to Covid–19.  Even so, young people now have more free time on their hands than usual, as well as added stress, so an increase in the likelihood of underage alcohol use during this time is still very likely.    April is recognized as Alcohol Awareness Month and the goal is to remind people to be aware of the prevalence of underage alcohol use and its many consequences, and do what we can as community members to reduce or prevent it.   Excessive alcohol use ranks third among lifestyle-related causes of death in the United States. Underage drinking has a wide range of consequences that can affect everyone— regardless of age or drinking status. We all feel the effects of the aggressive behavior, property damage, injuries, violence, and deaths that can result from underage drinking. This is not simply a problem that affects a few families—it is a national concern. Consumption of alcohol by anyone under 21 years old, known as underage drinking, poses a serious threat to adolescent development and health. Youth are more likely to participate in binge drinking (defined as drinking 5 or more drinks at one time) as well, which increases the risks to their health and safety.  To combat the dangers associated with underage drinking, Alcohol Enforcement Teams (AET) patrol communities to try to prevent underage alcohol use and access.  This is a part of a state-wide effort to protect youth and the community from the significant risks and consequences associated with underage drinking.  Cornerstone encourages local merchants to be very careful when making alcohol sales and to always make sure to check for a valid form of identification before making a sale.  We also want to remind parents and other adults that it is illegal to purchase alcohol for youth under 21 years old or to serve it to them, even in your home, even if you take their keys. Alcohol abuse and addiction are public health issues with serious consequences for all South Carolinians, including increased costs to the healthcare, welfare, and criminal justice systems as well as to the business community.  Please join us as we work year-round to keep alcohol out of the hands of our youth.