NIH News Advisory
NATIONAL INSTITUTES OF HEALTH
National Institute on
Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, March 30, 2000
Contact:
NIAAA Press
(301) 443-3860

National Alcohol Screening Day (April 6)
A National Wake-up Call

April 4 Media Briefing To Kick Off Event

"What are you waiting for — last call, or a wake-up call?" is the question to be posed by alcohol research and treatment leaders at a media briefing to be held 10:30-11:30 A.M., Tuesday, April 4, in Georgetown Universityís Copley Hall. The briefing launches the second annual National Alcohol Screening Day (NASD), a national outreach program designed to educate people about alcohol use disorders, screen them for a range of problems including risky drinking, and refer those in need to treatment resources. NASD is the result of a collaboration among the National Institutes of Healthís National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrationís Center for Substance Abuse Treatment (CSAT), and the nonprofit Screening for Mental Health, Inc. (SMH).

Following a welcome by James Donahue, Ph.D., the Georgetown University Dean of Students, the media briefing will feature remarks by Senator Joseph R. Biden of Delaware, Enoch Gordis, M.D., Director, NIAAA, Nelba Chavez, Ph.D., Administrator, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Ms. Michelle Perry, a drinking driving crash survivor, and Mr. Jeffrey Levy, the father of a college student who died in an alcohol-related incident. Patrick Kilcarr, Ph.D., Director, Student Health Education, Georgetown University, will moderate the briefing. Georgetown is one of about 400 colleges that will conduct NASD screenings April 6.

Persons who visit one of the free, anonymous screenings at an anticipated 1500 sites across the country can assess their alcohol use and learn about the full range of drinking problems as well as what to do and where to go if they need help. "We hope that the second annual National Alcohol Screening Day will build upon last yearís success to increase public understanding of alcohol abuse and alcoholism as clinical disorders for which we now have proven, research-based treatments," says NIAAA Director Enoch Gordis, M.D.

As part of the screening day, participants will hear an educational presentation on alcohol problems, complete a written self-assessment, and have the opportunity to talk privately with a health professional about their own or a family memberís drinking. If it is determined that an individual needs additional professional help, he or she will be given the names and telephone numbers of treatment facilities in the area.

"Taking action against alcohol is not easy," observes SAMHSA Administrator Nelba Chavez, Ph.D., "but knowledge is the first step. Awareness and understanding — the kind of outreach provided by this program — are key to halting the tide of alcohol problems across the country. National Alcohol Screening Day is a public health and personal health investment that you can bank on."

Alcohol treatment facilities, community health centers, hospitals, and colleges will participate in the national program, which is aimed at all segments of the general public. The college component specifically targets students who are risky drinkers, with a focus on binge drinking. The first NASD, held in April 1999, drew more than 50,000 participants with unexpectedly high participation by college students.

The NIAAA, CSAT, and Screening for Mental Health collaboration is supported by the American Academy of Addiction Psychiatry, the American College Health Association, the American Council on Alcoholism, the American Medical Association, the American Psychiatric Association, the American Psychological Association and its College of Professional Psychology, the American Society of Addiction Medicine, the Canadian Society of Addiction Medicine, Charter Behavioral Health Systems, College Parents of America, Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America, Eli Lilly and Company, Join Together, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors, the National Association for Children of Alcoholics, the National Association of Psychiatric Health Systems, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence, the National Interfraternity Conference, the National Mental Health Association, the National Organization on Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, and the National Panhellenic Conference.

For information about a local NASD site, telephone 1-800-405-9200 or visit the online site locator at www.mentalhealthscreening.org.


To arrange interviews with Dr. Gordis, please telephone NIAAA Press (301/443-3860). For interviews with Dr. Chavez please, contact Jim Michie (800/487-4890), and for information about CSAT, please contact Ivette Torres (301/443-5052). For information about screening programs, please contact Joelle Reizes at SMH (781/239-0071).

For information concerning the media briefing and to arrange credentialing, please telephone Elizabeth Schulman (202/973-1382) or Maria Droumbanis (202/973-1360).