Alcohol Awareness month begins

The month of April is aimed at educating and raising awareness about alcohol abuse.

The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependencesponsors Alcohol Awareness Month, which was created to reduce the stigma and encourage communities to focus on alcoholism and alcohol-related issues since April 1987.

This April, the NCADD is specifically targeting the public health issue of underage drinking.The NCADD reports that more than 6,500 people under the age of 21 die yearly from alcohol-related accidents, and thousands more are injured.

Tyshae Francisco, a fourth-year political science student from Deltona, Fla., was shocked that so many young adults die from alcohol abuse.  

“I know alcohol can be very dangerous for minors, but I had no idea the amount of young adults that are dying yearly from alcohol abuse,” Francisco said. “It actually makes me want to begin taking more caution at parties when drinking.”

College students sometimes find themselves in situations where they’ll make decisions about alcohol, such as at socials, dates, parties and athletic events.

Keyonna Keys, a fourth-year English student from St. Petersburg, knows how common alcohol is at college parties.  

“As a college student, I have never been to one off-campus party where there wasn’t any alcohol available to anyone, no matter their age,” Keys said.

According to Leon County’s Responsible Decision Making Coalition, 45 percent of Leon County’s health professionals and school personnel noted that the lack of parental involvement is a major risk factor in underage drinking. And, according to the American College Health Association, alcohol use can impair judgment, which can lead to unsafe decisions about sex and fights.

Experiencing such consequences and continuing to use alcohol may increase the risk of developing a long-term drinking problem.

Huberta Jackson-Lowman, an associate professor of psychology at Florida A&M, found that there are a number of reasons why students engage in alcohol at parties.

“Being able to drink is a rite of passage to this society,” Jackson-Lowman said. “Sometimes students use alcohol due to peer pressure or as a way to manage social inhibition.”