By: Catie Wiseman, Education Manager, Idaho State Liquor Division
Drinking too much alcohol increases people’s risk of injuries, violence, drowning, liver disease, and some types of cancer. The good news? We can all do our part to prevent alcohol misuse or abuse. This April, during Alcohol Awareness Month, the Idaho State Liquor Division encourages you to educate yourself and your loved ones about the dangers of drinking too much.
In 2017, there were 245 fatal crashes in Idaho 1 and 24.7% of those were the result of drunk driving 2. Over 5,450 people were arrested for driving under the influence with 48 of those people being under the age of 21 3. These numbers do not include arrests for drunkenness, domestic violence incidents where alcohol is present or other various social harms that are happening to our friends and family members throughout our community.
If you are drinking too much, you can improve your health by cutting back or quitting. Here are some strategies to help you cut back or stop drinking:
- Limit your drinking to no more than 1 drink a day for women or 2 drinks a day for men.
- Keep track of how much you drink.
- Choose a day each week when you will not drink.
- Don’t drink when you are upset.
- Limit the amount of alcohol you keep at home.
- Avoid places where people drink a lot.
- Make a list of reasons not to drink.
If you are concerned about someone else’s drinking and/or behavior when drinking, encourage your friend or family member to seek help. If you are in Idaho, the Department of Health and Welfare’s Idaho’s Careline 2-1-1 is a great first start. Anyone can call 2-1-1 or visit https://211.idaho.gov/ for alcohol and substance abuse resources.
Listed below are some other resources available to you at the local, state and federal levels:
- The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility: Ways to prevent underage drinking, to end drunk driving, and how to drink responsibly.
- Al-Anon Family Groups: Al-Anon members are people who are worried about someone with a drinking problem.
- Alcoholics Anonymous (AA): A fellowship of men and women that have had a drinking problem.
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA): Mission is to support alcohol research.
- Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion’s Healthfinder.gov: Includes various health topics to help live and lead a healthy life.
- BeTheParents.org: Great site encouraging parent engagement and ways to prevent underage drinking.
- National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA): NIAAA supports and conducts research on the impact of alcohol use on human health and well-being. It is the largest funder of alcohol research in the world.
- College Drinking: Changing the Culture (NIAAA): Resources and materials for colleges.
- Stop Underage Drinking: Portal of Federal Resources: Provides ongoing, high-level leadership regarding alcohol and serves as a mechanism for coordinating federal efforts aimed at preventing and reducing underage drinking.
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Alcohol and Public Health: The CDC Alcohol Program works to strengthen the scientific foundation for preventing excessive alcohol use.
- Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth: Their work focuses on the marketing variables of product, place, promotion and price, and the role these variables play in youth drinking and related problems.
- Alcohol Policy Information System (APIS): Provides detailed information on a wide variety of Alcohol-Related Policies in the United States at both State and Federal levels.
- National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA): Their mission is to support member jurisdictions in their efforts to protect public health and safety and ensure responsible and efficient systems for beverage alcohol distribution and sales. The site includes public health resources, education and white papers.
1Idaho Transportation Department, Office of Highway Safety, 2017 Idaho Traffic Crashes Report
2Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility – 2017 State Facts
3Idaho Transportation Department, Office of Highway Safety, 2017 Idaho Traffic Crashes Report