THOMASTON, UPSON COUNTY, GA – April 2, 2021 – The month of April has been designated Alcohol Awareness Month in the USA since 1987. This national movement was established to draw attention to the causes and effects of alcohol abuse, educate communities, reduce the stigma around alcoholism, and provide recovery solutions. Early drinking by minors creates risk factors for alcohol use disorders later in life and one local organization, Beyond The Bell Upson County, is focusing on prevention of underage drinking not only in April, but all year long.
The organization’s mission is to reduce the early onset of alcohol, drug, and substance abuse among 9–20-year-olds in our region so Beyond The Bell Upson is resuming their Youth Leadership Cabinet meetings, which have been on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“I choose not to drink,” says TyQuan Reeves, President of the Youth Leadership Cabinet. “But I know that other teens in my school and this area are stressed and tempted to drink. Beyond The Bell and our Youth Leadership Cabinet are so important in our county because we offer information and help young people.”
Along with the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities and SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration), Beyond The Bell Upson County provides tools and evidence-based strategies to train, educate, and support youth and families in the prevention of alcohol, marijuana, and tobacco use and abuse in the community.
“April is a really great month for us to focus on preventing underage drinking in youth and prepare them for a bright future without substance abuse. What is so important about our work particularly this year, is that children are more at risk for participating in destructive behaviors such as alcohol use because of the pressures and stresses they have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Amanda Smith, Coordinator of Beyond The Bell in Upson County. “Emerging evidence suggests that alcohol consumption has increased during the COVID-19 pandemic, and it is essential that we provide our youth with other outlets to de-stress and cope.”
Alcohol abuse prevention is not only vital for our local youth, but also for communities. Jobs, businesses, and our way of life are negatively affected if alcohol abuse isn’t addressed early on. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, in the United States, 10.8 million full-time workers have a substance use disorder. The person abusing alcohol can drink after hours and/or may be drinking alcohol on the job. An employee’s problematic drinking can impact other staff and professional relationships. Substance use disorders cost companies between $33 billion and $68 billion annually, as reported in an article by Cobb in Focus.
For more information about Beyond The Bell and its programs/resources, please visit www.beyondthebellkids.org.
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