Where do you draw the line? Learn how alcohol affects your health on National Alcohol Screening Day, April 10
“My husband and I want to start a family, and I enjoy an occasional glass of wine with dinner – will this affect my chances of becoming pregnant?”
“I take an over the counter pain medication for my bad back – does this mean I shouldn’t drink alcohol?”
“My 75-year-old father has recently been diagnosed with high blood pressure – can drinking make his hypertension worse?”
For most adults, moderate alcohol use causes few, if any problems. But for some, any alcohol use may lead to significant health problems. Trying to determine the risks associated with drinking is not easy because alcohol affects the body differently at different times. Where do you draw the line as you get older, if you are trying to get pregnant, if you have a family history of alcohol abuse, if you develop a medical condition, or if you take certain medications?
To help determine where you should draw the line, the Pledge for Life Partnership is offering a free, anonymous education and screening program as part of National Alcohol Screening Day on Thursday, April 10. Screenings will be held from 8 to11 a.m. and from 3 to 6 p.m. at the Partnership office on the fourth floor of the Kankakee County Administration Building, 189 E. Court St. in Kankakee.
Screenings also will be available at the same times and location on Thursday, April 17. The screening process is purely informational and not a formal assessment. No prior appointment is needed. Walk-ins are encouraged.
As part of the screening process, participants will complete a written self-test and are provided an opportunity to talk privately with a health professional at no cost. Educational materials will be available as well as referrals to local treatment and support resources for those who need further evaluation.
“Although most people who drink do so safely, many are unaware of the negative effects alcohol can have on health. The goal of National Alcohol Screening Day is to educate the public on the potential risks associated with drinking so they can make informed decisions about their drinking behaviors,” said Debra Baron, director of the Pledge for Life Partnership.
“While our primary goal is to deter underage alcohol use, this can not be done without addressing the problems caused by excessive drinking -- and even moderate drinking in some situations,” she continued. “The earlier an individual starts using alcohol, the more likely that person will become an alcoholic or suffer some other type of chemical dependency as an adult. Also, more than half the families in the United States know somebody who has an alcohol problem. By educating the public how important it is to prevent underage drinking and by assisting those who need help now, we are fulfilling our mission to make this a safer and healthier community.”
National Alcohol Screening Day (NASD) is held in April as part of Alcohol Awareness Month and is sponsored by Screening for Mental Health, Inc. in collaboration with NIAAA and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). Screenings will be held across the country at approximately 5,000 sites including hospitals, alcohol and addiction treatment centers, primary care offices and colleges.
Later this month, the Partnership will debut an on-line version of the screening tool on its KAN-I HELP Information Network web site at www.kan-i-help.org. In addition, individuals, families and other groups will have the opportunity to register an on-line commitment to the Pledge for Life – the Partnership’s effort to deter underage drinking through compliance with the laws governing alcohol and other dangerous substances. Additional features include expanded hot links to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) and other prevention and intervention web sites. The new features are intended to assist families in gaining access to resources to help keep kids alcohol-free and to find treatment services for individuals with alcohol problems.
For additional information about alcohol or the screening program, visit www.niaaa.nih.gov and www.NationalAlcoholScreeningDay.org or call the Pledge for Life Partnership at 936-4606.