Youth education is key to preventing alcohol addiction

Posted on October 31st, 2017 in Addiction

Youth education is key to preventing alcohol addiction

Some of the major trends witnessed across the American society are heavy drinking and exposure to alcohol at a very early age. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), people aged 12 to 20 years consume around 11 percent of alcohol in the United States, with more than 90 percent of alcohol being consumed during binge drinking.

It is alarming to note that underage drinkers consume more alcohol than adults during any drinking occasion. In 2010, people below the age of 21 visited emergency rooms (ERs) approximately 189,000 times due to the injuries and other conditions inflicted by drinking.

The culture of drinking on the college campuses put students at risk of encountering problems like hangovers and various illnesses, eventually hampering their academics and health. They are likely to experience poor academic performance and impairment of cognitive skills like memory.

Besides exacting an enormous toll on their intellectual and social aspects, students are likely  to experience delinquency, physical and sexual assault, drug abuse, suicidal tendencies, car crashes, and other unintentional injuries, such as burns, falls, drowning and death due to alcohol poisoning. Compared to those who start drinking at age 21, people who start drinking before age 15 are six times more vulnerable to developing alcohol addiction.

Success of drinking prevention strategies depend on understanding risk factors

Some of the interventions like alcohol education and timely intervention by expanding counseling services can reduce alcohol-related problems on the college campuses. The integration of the above-mentioned measures across different schools and colleges may help to stem underage drinking by controlling early exposure to drinking. Therefore, it is necessary to find the right mix of individual and environment-level strategies to ensure maximum benefits.

The research conducted by the National Institute of Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) revealed that college students who receive even a single individual counseling session on the repercussions of alcohol consumption will substantially reduce their drinking. Apparently, youngsters tend to avoid such dangers when properly informed. Therefore, it is vital to start comprehensive evidence-based programs to address the challenges of students related to drinking at the earliest.

Prevention strategies aim to protect youngsters by arming them with the knowledge to make wise decisions regarding alcohol and drugs. The key messages need to be conveyed to the youth in a comprehensible language so that they can start making informed choices in this area. Some of the other points to be kept in mind include:

  • Alcohol appeals to the youth because they feel it will help them to become more popular and overcome their shyness. Peer pressure also eggs them on to try a substance never used before. Moreover, they may consume alcohol or other substances to get over boredom by adding some excitement in their lives. For preventive education to be effective, they must be given alternatives to such escapism.
  • It is necessary to inform youngsters about all the risks associated with alcohol use in an evidence-based manner and the fact that the risks far outweigh the benefits should be driven home.
  • They must also be briefed about the ways to make the right choices to support a healthy lifestyle, including refusing alcohol, to avoid major repercussions.
  • Certain desirable behaviors can be reinforced during an effective education program, such as accepting responsibility for every action irrespective of good or adverse consequences, developing decision-making skills, evaluating priorities in the daily life, handling peer pressure, inculcating self-esteem and other values, etc.
  • It is equally important to educate parents to help them guide their children. Parents need to be equipped with adequate knowledge to help their children by preventing them from making wrong choices like drinking, addressing their problematic behavior, etc.

Holistic treatment: Way to an alcohol-free life

Alcohol education alone may not be sufficient to ensure the desired impact on the youngsters unless the marketing of alcohol products, glorification of alcohol in advertisements by celebrities, exposure to drinking within family, etc. are not addressed. Therefore, the need of the hour is to create an alcohol-free environment to decrease the risk of underage drinking.

If you or someone close to you is addicted to alcohol and needs treatment, get in touch with the Arizona Alcohol Addiction Helpline to know more about the alcohol addiction treatment centers in Arizona. Call at our 24/7 helpline number 866-671-1510 or chat online to get more information about the best alcohol addiction treatment in Arizona.

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