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The National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) has announced its theme for the 2014 Alcohol Awareness Month: "Help for today. Hope for Tomorrow."
As part of its effort to educate people, the NCADD has focused on combating Underage Drinking and released the following statistics:
- Alcohol is the number one drug of choice for America's young people, and is more likely to kill young people than all illegal drugs combined.
- Each day, 7,000 kids in the United States under the age of 16 take their first drink.
- Those who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to develop alcoholism than those who begin at age 21.
- More than 1,700 college students in the U.S. are killed each year-about 4.65 a day-as a result of alcohol-related injuries.
- 25% of U.S. children are exposed to alcohol-use disorders in their family.
- Underage alcohol use costs the nation an estimated $62 billion annually. (Credit: NCADD Alcohol Awareness Month)
It's Not Just a DUI Problem
When many people consider the criminal consequences of excessive alcohol consumption, a charge of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) is probably the first thing that comes to mind. However, as evidenced by the focus of this year's Alcohol Awareness Month, there are many ways alcohol abuse can bring people into contact with the court system, like Underage Drinking.
Aside from the charge of Possession or Consumption of Alcohol by Minors, the link between alcohol use and contact with the criminal justice system is not merely the use of alcohol but, rather, alcohol impairment. When consumed in excess, alcohol impairs our judgement. It is this impaired judgement that causes people to act in a manner that may be inconsistent with their everyday character:
- a person may get behind the wheel and drive their car eventhough they know they had too much to drink but feel they are still "OK to drive" and get arrested for drunk driving;
- a person who does not generally use illegal drugs may experiment with "recreational" drugs and be charged with drugged driving or drug possession;
- a verbal, domestic dispute may escalate to a domestic assault charge.
When alcohol use and abuse results in criminal charges, it impacts people on a personal level.
It's not just a hashtag. It's more than that. It is a symbol of my commitment to the people we help.
In dealing with alcohol-related crimes, it is not a question of whether the people I help can be diagnosed or labeled an "alcoholic." It is a question of whether the use of alcohol has caused a problem in their life. If the use of alcohol results in a criminal charge, it has created a problem. Together, we can work to identify the source of that problem and attack it.
Every person is different. Similarly, the underlying source of their alcohol-related offense is different.
For some, it is a mere blip on the radar, an isolated incident that must be framed as such in order to ensure it does not negatively impact their future.
For others, it may be an opportunity to take hold of a bigger problem that is having a crippling effect on the individual's life. For these people, they may feel helpless and overwhelmed by the burden of a seemingly hopeless situation. It is our goal to restore hope and help people put their life back together one piece at a time.
"We can't help everyone. But, everyone can help someone." - Ronald Reagan
Helping People accused of crimes restore and improve their life.
It's what we do. These are the people we help.
Because when your criminal case ends, the rest of your life is just beginning.
If you or someone you care about has been accused of crime, contact us for help.