April Proclaimed Alcohol Awareness Month in Vermont

For Immediate Release: April 8, 2004

Contact:  Vermont Department of Health
Communication Office
802- 863-7281

BURLINGTON, VT – Governor Jim Douglas has proclaimed April as Alcohol Awareness Month in Vermont. The theme this year is Save a Life – End Underage Drinking.

“Young people need to know the risks associated with drinking and that there are positive alternatives,” said Barbara Cimaglio director of the Vermont Department of Health Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse Programs. “ Parents are the most important influence on their children’s decision about whether they drink alcohol.”

According to the 2003 Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey, 49 percent of Vermont students in grades 8 through 12 first consumed alcohol before they were 15 years old. Young people who begin drinking before the age of 15 are four times more likely to develop alcohol dependence than those who begin drinking at 21 years of age.

Alcohol is a factor in the four leading causes of death among people ages 10 to 24: motor vehicles crashes, unintentional injuries, homicide and suicide. For all ages in Vermont, 68 percent of deaths caused by chronic liver disease or cirrhosis were alcohol related. Chronic liver disease and cirrhosis is the tenth leading cause of death in Vermont.

“I encourage everyone to take this time to think about your own family and community and how alcohol affects you. Talk to your children and family members,” continued Cimaglio. “ Get accurate and factual information to help you all make healthier decisions. ”

For more information about alcohol prevention, student alcohol use in Vermont and alcohol abuse in general, please see the Vermont Department of Health website at http://www.state.vt.us/adap/