April is National Alcohol Awareness Month. Alcohol Awareness is a public health program organized by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence as a way of increasing the education concerning the risks of alcoholism and alcohol abuse. The program was started in April 1987, with the purpose of pursuing college-aged students who might be drinking excessively as a part of their new freedom. Since then, it has become a national effort to attract more attention to the causes and effects of alcoholism as well as how to help families and communities deal with drinking problems.

According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, approximately 95,000 people die per year from alcohol. It is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States, trailing tobacco and poor dieting. Globally, the number of annual deaths from alcohol is much higher. In 2012, 3.3 million people died from alcohol-related causes. This number does not include the people who were killed by drunk drivers, which has become another alcohol-related issue.

Generally, Alcohol Awareness Month is used to point out the stigma that surrounds alcoholism and substance abuse. It is important to make people aware of the risks and symptoms of alcohol abuse to help ourselves and the people around us. For many, denial is the most common trait among people that are struggling with alcoholism. People downplay their own case of alcoholism by comparing themselves to people that have it worse. It is vital that we are educated on alcohol awareness so that we can keep our families, friends, and community members safe by recognizing the signs of alcoholism and acting fast to get them the help they need.

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