Celebrate 20 years with us

Alcohol plays a major role in our society. People drink to celebrate, socialize and relax. But alcohol is the single most commonly used addictive substance in the United States. Over 17 million people (one in every 12 adults) suffer from alcohol abuse. Alcohol is the fourth leading lifestyle-related cause of death in the nation. While it is commonly used as a recreational/social drug, when abused, it can cause great harm and suffering to individuals, families and whole communities. Throughout history, people have struggled to understand and manage alcohol’s power.

According to the “Communities that Care Survey” which was conducted by Fairfield Behvaioral Health Services during Feb., 2016 with students in grades 9-11, 43 percent of those students reported lifetime

Vernon Kennedy,Sr.
Executive Director
Fairfield Behavioral Health

use of alcohol. Unfortunately, this number has since increased by seven percent. According to the Target Zero website, motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for young people ages 15-24 in South Carolina. Drivers in this age group have the highest rate of crashes, speeding and distracted driving of any driver age group in the state. They also have the highest rate of impaired driving.

Fairfield Behavioral Health Services has worked diligently over many years to educate the community about the dangers of alcohol use for all ages. Through evidenced-based prevention programs like Keeping It REAL and Life Skills, outcome data reveals that the reported average age of first use of alcohol among youth in Fairfield County is age nine compared to the state’s average of age 10; that incremental decreases are being made in 30-day use of alcohol by students in grades 5–8 and that positive increases are being reported in perception of risk and attitudes toward underage drinking for students in grades 9-12 over a six-year period.

Additionally, evidence reveals that alcohol continues to be the number one drug of use, abuse and addiction for clients nationally, statewide and locally who are admitted for services at a rate of 50 percent or more.

In honor of National Alcohol Awareness Month (April), we at Behavioral Health established, 20 years ago, the Imagine the Difference 5K Run/Walk. This event is designed to raise awareness about the dangers and negative impact of alcohol abuse and underage drinking. We are asking Fairfield County residents and others to participate in our Run/Walk to show support and encouragement to others to “Imagine the Difference” that they can make in helping reduce underage drinking and alcohol addiction. Last year, we had 179 participants. This year we anticipate more.

Please join us, as a runner or a walker, for this wonderful event on Saturday, April 22, 2017. Register as an individual or with your team at our office or online at www.fairfieldbhs.org or www.strictlyrunning.com.