Commentary - Alcohol Awareness Month
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- April is national Alcohol Awareness Month. According to the CDC, excessive alcohol use causes about 88,000 deaths each year in the U.S. For most individuals moderate amounts of alcohol is not harmful, but the U.S. National Library of Medication notes that 18 million Americans are currently living with an alcohol use disorder. Drinking alcohol increases the risk of cancers of the mouth, esophagus, pharynx, larynx, liver, and breast. Alcoholism is a disease that is chronic, just like diabetes and can be fatal if no treatment is sought.
So, what does this mean for our military members? The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism states, “Regarding medical expenditures, studies have found that excessive alcohol use by military members results in an annual cost of $425 million. Excessive drinking within the military is estimated to result in a loss of 320,000 work days and 34,400 arrests per year, half of which are for driving under the influence.”
Studies by the NIH found that young adults in the military are more likely to engage in heavy drinking than their civilian counterparts. The younger ranks of the military population also lends to increased probability of underage drinking. Research indicates that alcohol use during formative years could interfere with normal brain development and increases the risk of developing an Alcohol Use Disorder. Additional consequences of underage drinking could result in injuries, sexual assaults, and even deaths. Remember, as a member of the military, to consume alcohol legally you must be 21 years of age no matter where you are stationed in the world!
Here’s what ADAPT is doing to combat Alcoholism! During the month of April, the Osan AB ADAPT Clinic has been trying to raise awareness about alcohol abuse and take preventative action! We have done several afternoon interviews on the base radio station consisting of treatment resources, the ADAPT treatment and education process and early warning signs. ADAPT has endorsed and distributed public service announcements dispelling common myths of alcohol. ADAPT will also be conducting outreach on April 29th at the BX. During this event we will have a drinking and driving simulator done with a peddle cart, cones, and drunk goggles, an informational booth, some free goodies, and we will let you pour us a drink to test your knowledge on standard sizes!
Early education and responsible drinking are key to preventing Alcohol Abuse and the development of Alcohol Use Disorders. If you or someone you may know has an issue with alcohol there are many resources out there. If your drinking has caused problems in your relationships, at work, at home, financially, physically or legally, it may be time to get help. The ADAPT clinic is always a great place to start if you have questions. We are located in building 768 and can be reached at 784-2149.