National Alcohol Awareness Month observed with 2 town meetings

LIHU‘E — Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr., whose personal life was impacted by the effects of alcohol, declared the month of April to be National Alcohol Awareness Month with two free town hall meetings being a part of the observation.

Augie T will be featured at the town hall meetings coordinated by Life’s Choices Kaua‘i.

The public is invited to attend the free event at either the Historic Waimea Theater on Monday or at the Bernice Hundley Gym in Kapa‘a on Tuesday.

Doors at the historic Waimea Theater open at 5:30 p.m., and will include free refreshments, vendor booths, prizes and the presentation by Mothers Against Drunk Driving and Augie T.

The event, geared for students at Waimea High School and West Complex Area schools, is being held as part of Alcohol Awareness Month in partnership with Waimea High School’s Family Focus Group.

Kaleo Pilanca from M.A.D.D. will serve as the master of ceremonies.

Pilanca will also lead the free town hall meeting Tuesday evening at the Bernice Hundley Gym on the Kapa‘a High School campus.

Doors open at 5:30 p.m. to free food and drink with the program starting at 6 p.m.

The program is being presented in partnership with the Life’s Choices Kaua‘i and the Kapa‘a High School PCNC/Family Focus Group.

Augie T will also be featured at this event.

During the issuing of the proclamation for the month-long observance, Carvalho said alcohol is the most commonly used addictive substance in the United States.

One in every 12 adults, or about 17.6 million people, suffer from alcohol abuse or dependence with 500,000 being between the ages of 9 and 12 years old, the proclamation states.

Nationally, 100,000 people die each year from alcohol-related causes, including drinking and driving crashes, other accidents, falls, fires, alcohol-related homicides and suicides.

Additionally, more than 7 million children live in a household where at least one parent is dependent on or has abused alcohol.

The proclamation goes on to note alcohol being a primary factor in the four leading causes of death for young people from the age of 10 to 21 years old.

Alcohol abuse is also linked to as much as two-thirds of all sexual assaults and date rapes, and is a major factor in unprotected sex, increasing the risk of contracting HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases.

Hawai‘i’s rate for heavy drinking among adults is about 1.3 times higher than that for the United States overall. Additionally, about 29 percent of Hawai‘i’s youth, between the ages of 12 through 17, admit to drinking alcoholic beverages in the previous month.

Theresa Koki, Life’s Choices Kaua‘i coordinator, said Alcohol Awareness Month is an opportunity to raise awareness about the social norms, which have become part of our culture. It encourages people to demonstrate their commitment to making healthy, safe choices and to live in a lifestyle free from the influence of alcohol abuse and its negative effects.

For more information call 241-4925. Visit www.ncadd.org for more information on Alcohol Awareness Month.

• Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, can be reached at 245-0453 or dfujimoto@ thegardenisland.com.

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