Tag Archives: dependence


CADD Announces 2014 NCADD Alcohol Awareness Month Theme –
“Help for Today. Hope For Tomorrow”
Alcohol Awareness – The Key to Community Change, Personal and Family Recovery
28 Years of Improving and Saving Lives Through Prevention, Treatment and Recovery

Each April since 1987, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD) sponsors NCADD Alcohol Awareness Month to increase public awareness and understanding, reduce stigma and encourage local communities to focus on alcoholism and alcohol-related issues. This April, NCADD highlights the important public health issue of underage drinking, a problem with devastating individual, family and community consequences.

With this year’s theme, “Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow,” the month of April will be filled with local, state, and national events directed toward educating people about the prevention and treatment of alcoholism. Local NCADD Affiliates as well as schools, colleges, churches, and countless other community organizations will sponsor a host of activities that create awareness and encourage individuals and families to get help for alcohol-related problems.

Alcohol use by young people is extremely dangerous—both to themselves and to society, and is directly associated with traffic fatalities, violence, suicide, educational failure, alcohol overdose, unsafe sex and other problem behaviors.

This year’s awareness campaign will place a special emphasis on underage drinking, a problem that costs $62 billion every year. The fact remains that alcohol is more likely to kill young people than all illicit drugs combined; even more startling: annually, over 6,500 people under the age of 21 die from alcohol-related accidents and thousands more are injured. 7,000 American kids are taking their first drink every day, all of whom are under the age of 16. One-fourth of children have alcohol-use disorders in their own family.

“Underage drinking is a complex issue,” says Greg Muth, chairperson of the NCADD Board of Directors, “one that can only be solved through a sustained and cooperative effort. As a nation, we need to wake up to the reality that for some, alcoholism and addiction develop at a young age and that intervention, treatment, and recovery support are essential for them and their families,” says Muth. “We can’t afford to wait any longer.” 

Of course, we understand that alcohol abuse is really a systemic problem affecting the entire country, including every demographic. To combat this, we must take strong preventive measures, but also be aware of the signs of alcohol abuse so as to identify and assist those with problems.

The signs are many, and not always apparent. Those that have an alcohol problem often neglect their responsibilities at home, work or school. They also drink while engaging in risky behaviors, such as driving. Abusers also commonly drink as a way to relax and “unwind,” all the while causing more problems because of their alcoholism. This abuse results in a high tolerance, and eventually can lead to physical/psychological addiction.

Alcohol abusers may become dependent on drinking. When they do stop, they often experience short-term withdrawal symptoms including anxiety, delirium, tremors and general difficulty performing tasks. For these abusers, alcohol goes from simply a way to relax, to a necessary activity in order to get through their everyday life. Some addicts become quite skilled at hiding their addiction until the inevitable unraveling takes place.

Whether a person decides to use alcohol or drugs is a choice, influenced by their environment–peers, family, and availability.  But, once a person uses alcohol or drugs, the risk of developing alcoholism or drug dependence is largely influenced by genetics.  Alcoholism and drug dependence are not moral issues, are not a matter of choice or a lack of willpower.  Plain and simple, some people’s bodies respond to the effects of alcohol and drugs differently. 

Research has shown conclusively that family history of alcoholism or drug addiction is in part genetic and not just the result of the family environment.  And, millions of Americans are living proof, based on personal, firsthand experience, that alcoholism and drug addiction run in families, plain and simple.

 Genes provide the information that directs how our bodies respond at the cellular level.  Research indicates that over 99% of our genes are the same and the 1% that are different account for visible differences (hair color, height, etc.) and invisible differences, such as our risk of diabetes, heart disease or addiction to alcohol or drugs.

Therefore, our health is the result of the interaction between genes and environment.  As an example, our risk of developing high blood pressure is influenced by both genetics and environment, including diet, stress, and exercise.   Certain diseases, like sickle cell anemia or cystic fibrosis, are caused by an error in a single gene.  However, most diseases, such as alcoholism and drug dependence, are considered genetically complex and involve variations in a number of different genes.

“Alcohol dependence and dependence on other drugs frequently co-occur, and strong evidence suggests that both disorders are, at least in part, influenced by genetic factors.  In recent years, researchers have identified numerous genes as affecting risk for dependence on alcohol and drugs.  These include genes involved in alcohol metabolism as well as in the transmission of nerve cell signals and modulation of nerve cell activity.”

Drinking alcoholic beverages affects different persons in different ways.  Some become very happy while others may see the “down side” of everthing.  Alcohol is a depressant, and certain genes in ones chemistry may indicate that they should not choose this as a way of relaxing.  Studies show that there are genetics involved, but I have known people who had problems with alcohol that had families that didn’t drink at all.  A physician once explained that some people enjoy drinking beer the same as others would enjoy a glass of tea.  

Many times you can’t get someone to seek help unless they want to get help.  Do what you can to encourage that person to find counseling or other programs; if it’s a young person, try to help them face the fact that they have a problem before they or someone else gets hurt. 

Sources: NCADD;  TheGazette 



This information comes to us straight from the U.S. Department of Labor, and is meant to highlight the benefits that drug-free workplace programs bring to workers, employers, and communities.  This is the time to work toward making every week a drug-free work week.   In the past, we have discussed the effects that workers who abuse drugs or alcohol in the workplace have on their co-workers, and the company that is paying them to work.  By having the workplace drug-free, productivity can be improved and reduce costs.  It will certainly help prevent accidents and make our workplace safer. 

Recent research reveals that many workers need to hear this message again and again.  Seventy-five per cent of the nation’s current illegal drug users are employed—and 3.1 per cent say they have actually used illegal drugs before or during work hours.  Seventy-nine per cent of the nation’s heavy alcohol users are employed—and 7.1 per cent say they have actually consumed alcohol during the workday.  How would you feel if a nurse or physician taking care of you were included in these statistics?  Heavy equipment operators, those who are responsible for the safety of others, such as driving buses, trains, or even airline pilots – we don’t want to dare think that they might be part of these statistics.  Smart business strategies are used by employers who establish drug-free workplace programs to assist their employees from the potentially devastating consequences of worker alcohol and drug abuse.  This week is a good time to reinforce the importance of working drug free in positive, proactive ways. 

Listed are some of the ideas to help companies and communities promote the success of a drug-free workplace program:

  • Implement a Drug-Free Workplace Program.  If your group does not already have one, this is the time to start one.  The first step to implement this is through a written policy.
  • Promote  Drug-Free Work Week.  Be sure all employees have a copy of your policy and remind them that it is all about keeping them safe of the job.
  • Train supervisors.  Company supervisors should be trained to understand their policy on alcohol and drug use; ways to deal with workers who have performance problems related to substance abuse, and how to refer them to available assistance.
  • Remind employees of the availability of EAP or MAP services.  These are Employee or Member Assistance Programs that offer free, confidential services to help all employees resolve personal and workplace problems, such as substance abuse.  If warranted, they also offer confidential substance abuse screenings as well as brief interventions.
  • Educate workers.  Workers must be educated about the nature of alcohol and drug use and its negative impact on workplace safety and productivity. 
  • Offer health screening.  Organizations can use this week to encourage employees to assess their own use of alcohol and drugs and privately determine if they need help to change their behavior.
  • Create a Drug-Free Workplace Display.  This is a good opportunity to freshen up bulletin boards in break areas that employees frequent by posting positive messages aboaut the importance of being drug-free to their safety and that of their coworkers.
  • Allow employees time to volunteer in community drug prevention efforts.  This give employees the chance to show both their own and company commitment to substance abuse prevention both inside and outside the workplace.
  • Review your health insurance policy.  Employees that are struggling with alcohol or drug problems will seek help if this type of treatment is covered.  If it is not, consider discussing the prospect of adding coverage with your insurance carrier.
  • Issue a Drug-Free Work Week press release.  Companies should issue a public announcement to their local media to spread this important message.
  • Distribute a payroll message listing helplines or a reminder about Drug-Free Work Week for employees.  A paycheck is always something that employees pay attention to.  You could include a reminder listing sources of help for ones with any problems, and that each employee is appreciated for working drug-free.

Thanks for the Department of Labor for this information.  It’s sad to say, but almost everyone of us knows someone who has a drug or alcohol problem.  Abusing prescriptions drugs is also not acceptable behavior in the workplace.   Try to spread the message to your friends, coworkers, and community.  If you work with someone that you feels needs help, encourage him/her to seek it.  It’s not only for their good, but the safety and wellness of everyone who works, rides to work, or lives with them.  If you witness a coworker committing an unsafe act, let his supervisor know, for the safety of all.  Stay sober and stay safe.


Sponsored by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, Alcohol Awareness Month is observed during the month of April.  There are many sobering facts about the effects that alcohol and drug addiction have on individuals and their families and friends.  The cost and consequences of these habits place an enormous burden on American society, as well.  Addiction strains the healthcare system, economy, harms family life, and threatens public safety. 

Substance abuse is everywhere, regardless of gender, age, ethnic groups, and people in every tax bracket.  Alcohol kills six times more young people than all illicit drugs combined.  It is a leading factor in accidents, homicides, and suicides.  Most high school students say it is fairly easy to get alcohol.  By the time American youngsters reach the age of 18, they have seen at least 100,000 beer commercials on television. 

Here are some eye-opening facts from the NCADD:

  • Almost half of all traffic fatalities are alcohol-related.
  • Between 48% and 64% of people who die in fires have blood alcohol levels indicating intoxication.
  • Heavy drinking contributes to illness in each of the top three causes of death: heart disease, stroke, and cancer. (And, untreated addiction is more expensive than cancer, heart disease, and diabetes combined.)
  • One-quarter of all emergency room admissions, one-third of all suicides, and more than half of all homicides and incidents of domestic violence are alcohol-related.
  • Every American adult pays nearly $1,000 per year for the damages of addiction.
  • Alcohol and drug abuse costs the American economy an estimated $276 billion per year in lost productivity, health care expenditures, crime, motor vehicle crashes and other conditions. 

Diagnosis and treatment of this disease (yes, it is a disease) is of the utmost importance.  Treatment can save lives and also dollars that would otherwise be spent in other areas of social services and medical care.  For every dollar spent on addiction treatment, seven dollars is saved in reduced health care costs.   Many employers offer counseling to their employees who have problems with drug or alcohol dependence.  Studies have shown that when these workers  have been helped, work results showed less tardiness or absenteeism, problems with supervisors decreased, as well as less incomplete work and fewer mistakes in work. 

An individual that is hooked on alcohol or drugs is not only affecting his/her life, but the lives of family, friends, and co-workers.  If family and friends can get the assistance of a trained specialist to conduct an intervention, hopefully, the individual will want to stop.   Alcohol or drugs have the ability to alter ones’ personality to the point that they are completely different than when they are sober.   

Read the facts above  again, and know that there is no good reason to become addicted to anything.  Stay in control of your life for yourself and your loved ones.  Most of all, keep our future growing by ending underage drinking. 

Sources: NCADD, US Department of Health and Human Services