Alcohol Awareness Month is just around the corner.

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Since 1987, April has been designated as the month for increasing public awareness and understanding about alcoholism and alcohol-related issues. As awareness is raised, barriers to recovery are dismantled and the stigma of alcoholism is reduced; thus, individuals who suffer from this disease may be more inclined to seek help.
The United Neighbors In Drug Abuse Defense (UNIDAD), a coalition that is part of the non-profit organization, Behavioral Health Solution of South Texas, aims to provide information about alcohol, alcoholism and recovery to our community to facilitate this mission.
Every year, Alcohol Awareness Month kicks things off with an Alcohol-Free Weekend. This year it falls under March 31 – April 2 with the theme of “Connecting the Dots: Opportunities for Recovery.” During Alcohol-Free Weekend, NCADD and the UNIDAD Coalition ask parents and other adults to abstain from drinking alcoholic beverages for a 72-hour period to demonstrate that alcohol isn’t necessary to have a good time. As adults in the community, there is the responsibility of setting a good example to the youth around us.
In addition to encouraging the community to participate in this Alcohol Free Weekend, the UNIDAD Coalition will continue to focus on the prevention of underage drinking during the entire Alcohol Awareness Month. They will do this through youth and adults presentations, as well as alternative after school/weekend activities. The goal is to make youth aware that there are risks associated with alcohol consumption, and addiction is a real issue. Presentations and events will demonstrate that alcohol is not a quick solution and should not be used as a way to cope Presentations for adults would focus on what they can do as parents to prevent underage drinking and alcoholism in their family, such as the importance of talking to youth early on and educating them on the dangers of underage drinking.
UNIDAD Coalition is actively looking to collaborate with schools and student organizations in Hidalgo County. Peer to peer education is proven effective when it comes to promoting healthy behaviors and preventing alcohol and other drug use among teens. If you would like to become involved and volunteer with any of the activities and events that UNIDAD Coalition organizes, please contact Vianca Vieyra at (956) 787-70004 ext. 14 or by email at vvieyra@bhsst.org.
Visit UNIDAD at 5510 N Cage Blvd., Suite R Pharr, Texas for research, prevention, intervention, and treatment services. For more information, go to www.bhsst.org.