Governor Urges Vermonters to Confront Alcohol Abuse

JAMES H. DOUGLAS GOVERNOR

State of Vermont
OFFICE OF THE GOVERNOR

For Immediate Release:
Friday, March 31, 2005

Contact: Jason Gibbs
(802) 828-3333

Montpelier, Vt. - At his weekly press conference today, Governor Jim Douglas declared April Alcohol Abuse Awareness Month and urge Vermonters to support prevention, treatment and rehabilitation programs for individuals struggling with alcohol related problems.

Governor Douglas said more Vermont children drink alcohol than smoke tobacco or marijuana, making it the drug most used by young Vermonters. Thousands of Vermonters, particularly high school students, are in need of counseling for related problem, he added. “In Vermont we will be urging everyone to support programs that help prevent early alcohol use, and we will encourage those who need treatment to begin the recovery process so they can end the negative effects alcohol abuse has on our youth and families,” the Governor said.

According to the Vermont Department of Health, a high percentage of Vermont youth perceive drinking as a low risk activity, and as something that does not undermine their health. In 2002, there were 2,515 visits to emergency rooms in Vermont with a primary or secondary diagnosis of acute alcohol intoxication.

“Vermonters, particularly young Vermonters, need greater access to early alcohol abuse prevention, treatment and education," the Governor said. "That is why I am declaring April Alcohol Awareness Month and urging Vermonters to understand the risks of alcohol abuse and encourage those who need treatment to begin the recovery process.”

The Governor also took the opportunity to urge the Legislature to fully fund his Drug Education Treatment Enforcement and Rehabilitation (DETER) program and restore funding for the 10 school drug counselors and a new state recovery center that House Democrats cut out of the Governor’s fiscal year 2006 budget.