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HHS observes Alcohol Awareness Month

Laura Anderson says prevention is the key - and it works.

The North Dakota Department of Health and Human Services is observing Alcohol Awareness month during the month of April.

Laura Anderson is the policy director for the behavioral health division at HHS. She says over the last couple of decades, North Dakota has made great strides in a positive direction when it comes to youth alcohol use. In 2021, alcohol use among high school students was just under 24 percent. That’s down from 2001, where use among students was just over 59 percent. She says a main component to that success is prevention.

"Some examples of that are, working with local establishments to train individuals on responsible beverage service training. Some other efforts are, one of the key programs in the state called Parents Lead. This is a program really aimed at providing parents and caregivers resources and tools on how to surround your kids in kind of protective factors, to decrease the likelihood that they will develop behavioral health conditions. "

Despite the good news, Anderson says there is still work to do. She says alcohol remains the most-used substance in the state among youth and adults, and there are still consequences of that use impacting communities.