ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. -- During the month of April, PACT Prevention Coalition would like community members to observe Alcohol Awareness Month to help prevent alcohol abuse in our community.
Alcohol Awareness Month, as declared by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), aims to raise awareness about the seriousness of alcohol dependency and alcoholism, while recognizing the serious problem of alcohol abuse.
It is an ideal time to educate yourself and loved ones about the dangers of alcohol abuse.
Alcohol use is an issue of concern in St. Johns County for both young adults and those under 21 years of age.
According to the 2010 Florida Youth Substance Abuse Survey, alcohol is the most commonly used drug among St. Johns County students with 29.4 percent of surveyed middle and high school students reporting the use of alcohol in the past 30 days.
While this number has decreased 7.6 percent since 2000, it is still a topic of much unease.
"I believe alcohol awareness month is important in getting the message out to young people to 'think before you drink,' think about the consequences, and think about the long term effects of alcohol abuse," said Ponte Vedra Beach resident and recovering alcoholic, Mark Tondreau.
Tondreau shares his story of life after a liver transplant and heart valve replacement, which were the result of years of heavy drinking, with schools, clubs and organizations.
He stresses the dangers of alcohol abuse, how easy it is to become addicted to alcohol, and how alcohol can slowly affect a person's health.
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) reports that nearly 14 million Americans -- one in every 13 adults -- abuse alcohol or are alcohol dependent.
In addition, fewer than 25 percent of adults and fewer than 10 percent of youth who need treatment receive it in a given year.
PACT Prevention Coalition of St. Johns County is dedicated to making St. Johns County a healthy substance-free community for our youth through prevention, advocacy, choices and teamwork. For more information about PACT Prevention Coalition of St. Johns County call (904) 829-6261 or visit the PACT Prevention website.
First Coast News