Raising awareness

ALPENA – April is Alcohol Awareness Month, and many local organizations and entities are joining forces to educate Northeast Michigan about the dangers of alcohol abuse.

On Friday, Catholic Human Services hosted a luncheon for Alpena County Prevention Policy board members and others. Attendees heard about how numerous stakeholders team up to attack alcohol abuse from all angles. Partners in Prevention Executive Director Carlene Przykucki said the luncheon brought together many of those on the front lines, including CHS, 26th Circuit Court Family Division, Boys & Girls Club of Alpena, Sunrise Centre and Michigan Liquor Control Commission representatives.

CHS Administrator Kara Steinke said the policy board aims to prevent alcohol abuse, and also make the public aware of available treatment options. Educators inform Thunder Bay Junior High students about making good life choices, and CHS provides substance abuse counseling. Sunrise Centre provides inpatient care.

Local stakeholders get involved in many other ways: A policy board document lists efforts ranging from stickers on pizza boxes reminding parents not to allow underage drinking at parties to drug courts for teenagers and adults.

“We’re not prohibitionists, we’re not suggesting there be no alcohol, but we want people to be informed so they can make better choices,” Przykucki said.

It’s prom season for many school districts, and graduation season is just around the corner, so many county and city governments have adopted proclamations reminding everyone to be responsible social hosts, according to the policy board. For the next two weekends the Alpena Pizza Hut, Little Caesars and Mancinos will put stickers on pizza boxes with the same message, and local law enforcement agencies will send letters to parents of high school seniors as well.

Luncheon attendees all wore red awareness T-shirts, and will continue to wear them every Friday of the month, Przykucki said. The idea is to start a conversation about the dangers of drugs and alcoholism.

“The only way you can make a difference in the community around substance abuse and alcohol abuse is to have multiple strategies around multiple sectors,” she said.

Jordan Travis can be reached via email at jtravis@thealpenanews.com or by phone at 358-5688. Follow Jordan on Twitter @jt_alpenanews. Read his blog, A Snowball’s Chance, at www.thealpenanews.com.