The call comes as the nation begins observing Alcohol Awareness Month.
"Although many people may realize that alcohol use can be harmful, it is still one of the most abused legal substances in the world and, because of this, it is important that the public be made aware of the consequences of alcohol abuse not only during Alcohol Awareness month but on a regular basis," Paul Faulk, director of BARC, said in a statement.
BARC said in Broward County around 2,200 people annually benefit from the center’s residential and outpatient treatment and support services; more than 1,800 get medically supervised drug and alcohol withdrawal treatment; and nearly 800 take part in non-residential day treatment programs.
The center, located at 1000 SW Second St., Fort Lauderdale, caters to Broward County residents 18 and older. They pay for services on a sliding fee scale.
Faulk said alcohol abuse affects everybody, directly or indirectly, and it is necessary for the public to be knowledgeable of the problems brought about by alcohol abuse, as well as the solutions to those problems.
Alcohol and alcoholic beverages are grouped under drugs called depressants, which are drugs that alter the function of the central nervous system by affecting the neurons. This results in symptoms such as drowsiness, poor motor coordination, slurred speech and lack of judgment. Alcohol itself has many detrimental effects on the body, including pancreatitis and liver disease, the center said.
The center said people are aware that alcohol is a dangerous drug but are unaware of exactly how much danger it poses to society, in general. The center cites the following statistics from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and The National Alcohol and Drug Addiction Help Center:
• Almost 14 million Americans, or one in 13 adults, are alcohol abusers. Less than 25 percent of them get necessary treatment every year.
• About one in four children younger than 18 have been exposed to alcohol abuse.
• People who begin drinking before age 15 are four times more likely to become dependent on alcohol, compared to those who begin drinking at age 20 or older.
• Underage drinking is more likely to kill young people than illegal drugs. About five U.S students die each day as a result of alcohol-related injuries.
• Alcoholism is the third leading cause of preventable death in America, causing the death of about 85,000 Americans every year.
• About 75 percent of abusive spouses have been drinking prior to or at the time of the abuse.
• Fetal Alcoholic Spectrum Disorders is the leading preventable cause of birth defects in the United States.
• A quarter of all emergency room admissions, a third of all suicides and more than half of all homicides and incidents of domestic violence are alcohol-related.
"These statistics are staggering and eye-opening and should be taken seriously, and we at BARC are ready to assist our residents," Faulk said.
To access BARC’s services other than detoxification, call the Admission Office at 954-357-4851. For more information on the center, visit www.broward.org/AddictionRecovery