MEDIA CONTACTAlycia Davis, (531) 249-8079, firstname.lastname@example.org
Lincoln – April is Alcohol Awareness Month and the Division of Behavioral Health in Nebraska's Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) has an important message about alcohol use. For those struggling with alcohol use and/or any other addiction -- help is available and recovery is possible.
Alcohol is the third leading cause of preventable death in the United States. Approximately 95,000 Americans die from alcohol-related causes each year. In 2020, there were 123 alcohol-attributable deaths in Nebraska.
“This awareness month allows us to spread information about the signs and effects of substance use and the misuse of alcohol," said Tony Green, Interim Director of the Division of Behavioral Health. “It is important for communities, friends, and family to talk about alcohol, discuss the severity and reality of substance use, spread information on how to talk to a loved one who may have concerning behaviors and share resources to find help. There is help and there is hope, no matter the severity of the situation."
Nationally, and in Nebraska, alcohol is the most misused substance. Results of the 2019 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), demonstrated that one out of four people who drink have abused alcohol in the last year. Of people ages 18 or older, 25.8% engaged in binge drinking in the past month and 6.3% reported that they engaged in heavy alcohol use in the past month. Binge drinking is defined as five or more drinks for a man and four drinks or more for a woman in two hours.
Young adults are especially at risk. In Nebraska in 2020, 12.4% of young adults reported driving under the influence of alcohol during the past year. Prevention efforts have reduced young adult binge drinking throughout Nebraska. Data shows binge drinking has decreased among both genders from 2013 (50.8% males, 44.1% females) to 2020 (34.0% males, 30.3% females).
Are you concerned about a loved one's alcohol use? Friends and family may be uncomfortable talking or acknowledging the severity and reality of what they are experiencing. A few suggestions for starting a meaningful conversation:
In talking with a young adult about alcohol, look for opportunities to raise the topic naturally. For instance for a teen starting college, discussions about majors and course selection can easily lead to a conversation about how alcohol use can disrupt academic success and career options. Emphasize that any decisions about alcohol need to be made following the law and their health. Other tips:
Are you concerned about your alcohol use? The National Institutes of Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends asking yourself the following questions:
Need to talk or get immediate help in a crisis? Help is available. If you or a loved one need assistance, please reach out to: