April is Alcohol Awareness Month: Here’s What to Know

Spring is a hopeful time of year when we promote growth and renewal. By observing Alcohol Awareness Month in April, we take these hopeful attitudes and use this time to increase public understanding of alcohol misuse, its causes, effective treatments, and ways to educate teens about the dangers of underage drinking. Talk it Out NC’s theme for 2024 is “Lend Your Voice — Share Your Story — Start the Conversation.” We encourage teenagers, parents, and mentors to start the conversation and keep teens safe.

What is Alcohol Awareness Month?

April was first recognized as Alcohol Awareness Month in 1987 by the National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence, Inc. (NCADD). According to that organization’s website, Alcohol Awareness Month is observed to reduce the stigma of alcohol misuse, bring alcoholism awareness to communities across the nation, and spread information about recovery.

Nearly four decades later, Talk it Out NC and other organizations around the country participate in this annual event to debunk myths about alcohol misuse and foster a community dialogue that encourages individuals to practice alcohol responsibility all year long. Governor Roy Copper has also declared April as Alcohol Awareness Month in North Carolina.

Underage Drinking Statistics and Why They Matter

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol is the most commonly used substance among young people in the nation. Underage drinking statistics are more than just numbers – they shed light on a serious issue affecting teens across the country and here in North Carolina. During April, we’re sharing some facts about underage drinking:

  • Tweens and young teens are exposed to alcohol before high school. 10% of 12-year-olds say they’ve tried alcohol. 15% of 8th graders admit to drinking alcohol in the last year.
  • According to the 2023 State of Underage Drinking Survey, 47% of high school students have tried alcohol.
  • Data shows high school students who drink alcohol may also be more likely to engage in risky behaviors. 14% binge drank, 5% drove after drinking alcohol, and 17% rode with a driver who had been drinking.
  • Underage drinking is linked to anxiety, increased risk of alcohol misuse, memory problems, and other social struggles and trouble in school.

These statistics highlight the need for conversations about alcohol use and misuse within families and communities. By understanding the scope of the problem, parents, mentors, and educators can better address the risks and consequences associated with underage drinking, especially during Alcohol Awareness Month.

Talk it Out NC Spreads Awareness During Alcohol Awareness Month

At Talk it Out NC, we’re using this month to increase our efforts to educate young people about the dangers of underage drinking by providing resources, information, and support. One of the most effective ways to prevent underage drinking is through open, honest dialogue. To help Start the Conversation during Alcohol Awareness Month, Talk it Out NC has created a toolkit with resources and information about opportunities and events:

1. Talk it Out NC Webinars

We hosted a webinar with Wake Monarch Academy to help educate the public and spread the word about the dangers of underage drinking and facts about alcohol.

2. Talk it Out NC Ambassadors and Partners Help Spread the Word

Talk it Out NC has partners across the state dedicated to reducing underage drinking and providing a safe place for every North Carolinian to live.

  • Our statewide ambassador program lends a local voice to a nationwide issue. This grassroots effort helps reach North Carolina teens and their families in their local communities. Learn more about the Talk it Out Ambassador program and find your local representative.
  • Alcohol Law Enforcement special agents are dedicated to preventing underage drinking, policing the sale of alcohol to minors, and are proud Talk it Out NC partners.
  • For parents or families who feel they may need professional help but are not sure where to start, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services (NCDHHS) is also a valuable resource.

3. Download and Print Easy Conversation Starters

If you’re a parent struggling to start the conversation about the dangers of underage drinking with your child, you’re not alone. It can feel awkward, but we promise these meaningful talks are worth the effort. Start by asking open-ended questions (so your child can’t get away with the typical teenager’s “Yes” or “No”). Try putting yourself in their shoes and really listen to what they’re saying. Look to our downloadable conversation starters and other facts to help guide your talk.

4. Enter To Win Some Sober Fun on Us!

As part of our ongoing mission to foster safe and memorable experiences while preventing underage drinking, enter to win our #TIONCSweepstakes! You could win tickets to Carowinds, Wet ‘n Wild, or Frankie’s amusement parks!

5. Celebrating the Winners of our Dine and Shine Prom Night Sweepstakes

Also throughout April, the winners of our Dine and Shine Prom Night Sweepstakes are enjoying their nights to remember! Teenagers entered to win a safe and stylish limo ride to and from prom, along with dinner (a $1,000 prize).

Six winners were randomly chosen from across North Carolina to receive this exciting award. They are:

  • Tracey Calhoun, Sanderson High School, Raleigh;
  • Aubrey Turner, D.H. Conley High School, Greenville;
  • Trayson Akbar, Asheville High School, Asheville;
  • Emerie Hilton, East Forsyth High School, Kernersville;
  • Emma Davis, Mallard Creek High School, Charlotte;
  • Ja’rya Harper, New Hanover High School, Wilmington.

Talk it Out NC’s Dine and Shine Prom Night Sweepstakes encourages having a safe, alcohol-free night when many students may feel the pressure to drink alcohol. For parents, it’s important to talk to their children before prom or other big social gatherings about the dangers of underage drinking.

Preventing Underage Drinking Starts With You

Alcohol Awareness Month is an important reminder of the need to prevent underage drinking. Let this April be a starting point for meaningful discussions about alcohol misuse and its effects. Together, we can build awareness, share knowledge, and take steps to prevent underage drinking. Ready to start? Take the Pledge today.