Since 1987, each April has been recognized by the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) as the month for spreading awareness about alcoholism. What’s the purpose of Alcohol Awareness Month? Many people still believe in the old stigmas surrounding drug and alcohol addiction. By recognizing alcoholism, we can spread awareness and education about the causes and treatments.

Alcohol is particularly dangerous for teenagers, whose bodies and brains are still developing. According to the NCADD, every day about 7,000 kids in the USA under the age of 16 will take their first drink. Those who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who start at age 21. Michael, a teenager who came to Inspirations, started drinking alcohol when he was only 14 years old. He was binge drinking every day before coming for treatment. After finishing treatment, Michael is going back to school to get his high school diploma.

Michael’s story is a success story but not all teenagers are so lucky. Underage drinking is a serious, complex issue. Many teenagers die each year from the results of drinking alcohol. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2010 approximately 189,000 people under age 21 went to the emergency room for injuries or conditions related to alcohol consumption.

This April, make a difference. Remember those who have lost their battle with alcohol addiction. Help others understand that alcoholism is not a choice. It’s an addiction and a disease.