April is Alcohol Awareness Month. While Alcohol has long been a prevalent part of our social culture, it has serious and adverse side effects that are often overlooked. Binge drinking can lead to hangovers, accidental injury, liver disease, and cancer, amongst other diseases. Alcohol consumption is linked to other risky behaviors which increases the chance of accidental pregnancy, sexually transmitted infection, and violence. Across the United States, 380 deaths daily are linked to excess alcohol consumption.

By reducing alcohol consumption, positive change will be felt in your mental and physical health. The CDC recommends men limit themselves to two drinks a day while women limit themselves to one drink a day. It is important to remember that drinking less is always better than drinking more.

For teens and young adults, alcohol use can be especially dangerous, increasing the chances of developing an alcohol use disorder or halting brain development. Alcohol is the most common substance used amongst this age group. While you may think your child is not using alcohol it is important to facilitate conversations due to the peer pressure that is likely present. Conversation is the first step to prevention.

If you or a loved one are in need of help dial 211 or go to 211maryland.org for 24/7 help and connection to resources.

-Ashley Ramsey, Coalitions Coordinator, Anne Arundel County Department of Health