With one in every dozen adults experiencing abuse or dependence, alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States.
That’s why a group made up of various campus and local stakeholders is urging members of the community to consider the role that alcohol plays in their lives.
The Ann Arbor Campus-Community Coalition (A2C3) is hosting a series of alcohol screening events on and off campus in the coming weeks as part of its annual Alcohol Awareness Month programming.
“Alcohol can do a lot more harm than people realize, and that’s why we want to raise awareness,” said Teresa Herzog Mourad, an A2C3 member and health educator with the MHealthy Alcohol Management Program. “Our goal is to shed some light on how much people can do when they start talking about the issue.”
The screenings incorporate resources from the National Institutes of Health’s “Rethinking Drinking” campaign, which encourages people to reflect on their consumption patterns and evaluate whether they are at risk for developing an alcohol use disorder.
A2C3 members will be on hand to give away self-screening tools and share information about community resources. Group members point out that the awareness month is about making healthy decisions and reducing harm, rather than complete abstinence.
The group will host the screening events at the following dates and locations:
• April 18, 12:30-2:30 p.m. — Shapiro Undergraduate Library, 919 S. University Ave.
• April 24, 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. — Weber’s Inn, 3050 Jackson Ave.
• April 26, 6:30-8 p.m. — Downtown Ann Arbor District Library, 343 S. Fifth Ave.
The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence established Alcohol Awareness Month in 1987 to help reduce the stigma so often associated with alcoholism by encouraging communities to reach out to the American public each April with information about alcohol, alcoholism and recovery.
About 17.6 million people suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence, according to the NCADD. Excessive alcohol use contributes to about 88,000 deaths annually.
Ann Arbor Mayor Christopher Taylor will issue a proclamation later this month recognizing April as Alcohol Awareness Month and calling on community members to “to support efforts that will provide early education, intervention and referral to resources.”
The proclamation also states that fostering a positive culture respectful to those who choose not to drink helps to create a safe, inclusive community.
“Addressing the harm caused by alcohol abuse is something that the campus and the city can do together,” said Mary Jo Desprez, co-chair of A2C3 and director of Wolverine Wellness. “If we don’t take on this issue, the well-being of our community is what suffers.”
In addition to the screenings, A2C3 members will also host “Communities Talk,” an open dialogue exploring alcohol impact in the U-M and Ann Arbor community from 6:30-8 p.m. April 26 at the Downtown Ann Arbor District Library.
The event will cover a number of alcohol-related topics, including current trends, the signs and symptoms of alcohol abuse, community resources and strategies for engaging youth.
A number of alcohol and mental health experts from U-M will participate in the dialogue, including Charles Graham, a social worker for U-M Addiction Treatment Services; Jonathan Morrow, assistant professor of psychiatry in the Medical School; and Sarah Rollins, a clinical social worker in Michigan Medicine’s Department of Psychiatry.
The free event is open to the public and requires no prior registration.