Rick Gross, Prevention Coordinator, Army Substance Abuse Program
It all starts with one word: Habit
Monday, April 10 is National Alcohol Screening Day. On this day, those of us in the alcohol abuse prevention field put a special emphasis on helping others raise awareness of their own potential for alcohol abuse or dependence.
Here’s the good news: about 2/3 of American adults either don’t use alcohol or use it in such a way that they are never at risk for injury or health problems. But that leaves 1/3 of Americans who at least occasionally use alcohol in a way that puts them at risk, and that is still quite a lot of people.
Here’s another good thing: most of the people in that upper 1/3 are NOT dependent on alcohol. They will not experience withdrawals if they stop drinking, and changing their alcohol use patterns will involve simply some well-focused effort. For these people, it really comes down to what HABITS they’ve developed, and what it takes to change those habits.
But DO they need to make changes? It’s a good question, and the purpose of National Alcohol Screening Day is to help people investigate it more closely. On Monday, 10 April, I will be available to do brief alcohol screenings for anyone who wants one. Screenings take less than 5 minutes, they are voluntary, and no records are kept. It is very informal. I do not provide a diagnosis, but I do provide individual-specific information about alcohol use patterns and what they mean. Referral information for those wanting or needing in-depth assistance will be available.
- From 8 to 10 a.m. I will be in the Atrium of the Dunham Army Medical Center.
- From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. I will be in the Mary Walker Room in Root Hall, near the cafeteria.
- From 1:30 p.m. until 3:30 pm I will be in the lobby of the PX.
I encourage you to join me at one of these locations and get more information. If you would prefer total anonymity, you are welcome to use the following link to do an online screening: www.alcoholscreening.org. If you use the online tool and have concerns or questions, please call us immediately at 245-4576.
We all have things we can improve on. I encourage you to use National Alcohol Screening Day to investigate whether alcohol use is something you would benefit from changing. For questions or to get more information or help, call 245-4576.