News: Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow
Story by Lance Cpl. Norman Eckles
BARSTOW, Calif. - Approximately 88,000 people in the U.S. die each year from something very preventable … alcohol abuse.
The Government has recognized April as Alcohol Awareness Month to help people of the U.S. understand the seriousness of alcohol abuse.
“This month was created to bring up the bad things people can experience while drinking alcohol,” said Manuel Llanura, substance abuse counselor with Marine and Family Services on Marine Corps Logistics Base Barstow, Calif. “We want people to know how alcohol can affect their lives.”
This year’s theme for Alcohol Awareness Month is Help for Today, Hope for Tomorrow, Llanura explained. It is targeted to the underage drinkers but can affect people over the age of 21 as well. The big event during this month is to go one weekend without alcohol. It was scheduled for the first weekend in April.
“The point of this weekend is to see if you can go without drinking,” said Llaruna. “If you can, that’s great, but if you can’t we encourage you to seek help from a counselor.”
“I think this is a great way for people to find out about the dangers of alcohol,” said Staff Sgt. Jeffery Worley, substance abuse control officer with Headquarters Battalion on MCLB Barstow. “It helps us as a unit help out those who need it the most.”
As the SACO, Worley goes around randomly to each shop to give Marines a breathalyzer test to ensure everyone is staying sober on duty.
Approximately 7,000 people under the age of 21 die each year due to alcohol related car accidents, Llanura further explained. This is why we are targeting them this year, to help prevent this from happening. Alcohol is the number one choice for younger people over any drug and kills more people than all the other drugs combined.
For Marines, alcohol can affect more than their personal lives … it can kill their career, relationships with others and, if you are married, your marriage, Llanura added.
The way the Marine Corps looks at alcohol is much different than 15 years ago, he said. Today, if you drink more than five alcoholic beverages in one sitting, you are considered a binge drinker.
“The Marine Corps has put out the 0,1,2,3 scale,” said Llaruna. “This helps Marines know what is appropriate and not appropriate when it comes to drinking. It’s a scale that analyzes the risk related to the quantity and frequency (of drinking alcohol).”
• 0 per day – no alcohol related problems and likely to live longer than those drinking 3 or more
• 1-2 per day – does not increase risk for most people, live longer than abstainers and those drinking 3 or more
• More than 2 per day – health problems are common, shorter life on average, the higher the quantity and frequency above 2 drinks per day, the greater the risk
• More than 3 on any day – have higher rates of health and impairment problems
“We encourage people (who have a problem) to use this month as motivation to talk to someone about their addiction … there are people that can and will help you,” concluded Llanura.
For more information on alcohol awareness, contact your local substance abuse counselor.