By Angie Schaffer
People can die in a lot of ways. They can crash their cars or jump off balconies or even live long enough for their organs to slowly fail.
Then again, these are problems exacerbated by the abuse of alcohol.
It has long been known that alcohol is not the most friendly substance one could consume, regardless of how friendly it may feel at the time. The National Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence, along with many other anti- and safe-use of alcohol programs, has fought to educate the public about the dangers of excessive alcohol consumption and to inform them on safety tips.
April is Alcohol Awareness Month, a program sponsored annually since 1987 by the NCADD.
This year, UNO’s counseling center has taken an active role in raising awareness with a variety of events aimed at target groups.
Students enjoyed mocktails and were given information on responsible drinking Tuesday. In the Milo Bail Student Center that same day, the computer program “Alcohol 101” gave an educational account of what alcohol does to the biology of an intoxicated person.
Other events for the month include presentations to classes and greek groups by Anne Aiken-Kush, a drug and alcohol expert with UNO’s counseling center.
The alcohol problem at UNO, Aiken-Kush notes, is not as serious as on other campuses. She credits this to a strong reputation as a dry campus without a history of partying and an absence of cultural influences involving alcohol.
“The university is not surrounded by bars,” she notes.
The counseling center also educates incoming freshmen of the dangers of alcohol abuse. Aiken-Kush says it targets this group because “nationwide … freshmen are at a higher risk of misuse or abuse of alcohol.” She believes upperclassmen have moved away from the party scene and into a more academic focus, so alcohol is not such a problem for them.
Nationally, the month began with an Alcohol-Free Weekend April 5-7. This year’s national campaign is titled “Recovery: It’s a Family Affair — And Everyone’s Invited!” According to www.jointogether.org, this year’s campaign aims to address the damage done by alcoholism to the families of alcoholics.
For more information on the NCADD or this year’s program’s, visit www.ncadd.org.