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New Substance Abuse Prevention Campaign Focuses on Alcoholism

Gateway Foundation Drug Treatment Supports Alcohol Awareness Month in April

CHICAGO, March 26, 2013

More individuals than the entire population of Illinois, or 14 million American adults, meet the criteria for alcohol abuse or alcohol dependency, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Furthermore, nine out of 10 individuals with alcoholism won't seek the treatment they need for substance abuse.

To address this public health concern, Gateway Foundation Alcohol & Drug Treatment is joining the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence to raise awareness of alcohol-related issues during Alcohol Awareness Month in April. In an effort to change behaviors and attitudes towards alcohol abuse, Gateway Foundation is launching a campaign that heightens awareness of low-risk drinking guidelines in comparison to risky or binge drinking that could lead to alcoholism.

"In honor of Alcohol Awareness Month, we are reaching out to communities throughout Illinois with substance abuse awareness resources, like magnets, window clings and educational materials. Our goal is for adults to understand what constitutes as risky drinking and if needed, that professional help is available," says Gateway Foundation President and CEO Michael Darcy. "We encourage local businesses, schools, public sector organizations and healthcare providers throughout Illinois to take advantage of these tools and support the efforts addressing alcoholism."

Moderate versus Binge Drinking

To minimize health risks caused by alcohol, the USDA guidelines for moderate drinking are:

  • Up to one drink per day for women
  • Up to two drinks per day for men

Many health risks, including alcohol dependency, are associated with drinking in excess or binge drinking. Today, the generally accepted definition of binge drinking in America for women is drinking four or more drinks in a row at least once in the previous 2 weeks. For men, consuming five or more drinks in a row at least once in the previous 2 weeks is considered binge drinking. Heavy binge drinking includes three or more such episodes in 2 weeks.

Symptoms of Alcoholism

Because alcoholism is a disease, most alcoholics can't just "exercise some willpower" to stop drinking. Alcoholics are frequently in the grip of a powerful craving for alcohol, a need that can feel as strong as the need for food or water. Yet, with treatment and support, many are able to stop drinking, reclaim their lives and reconnect with loved ones. Alcoholism entails the following symptoms:

  • Craving - A strong need or urge to drink.
  • Loss of Control - Unable to stop drinking once drinking has begun.
  • Physical Dependency - Withdrawal symptoms, such as nausea, sweating, shakiness and anxiety after drinking stops.
  • Tolerance - The need to drink greater amounts of alcohol to get intended "high."

About Gateway Alcohol & Drug Treatment

Since 1968 our goal has been straightforward: to help clients get their life back on track and achieve a life of sobriety, free from drug use and symptoms of mental illness, that is productive, socially responsible, and healthy. Gateway Foundation is the largest nonprofit treatment provider in the country that specializes in the treatment of substance use disorders, providing treatment for men, women, adolescents, and clients diagnosed with co-occurring mental health disorders.

Gateway's Community Division has treatment centers located throughout Illinois, including Carbondale, Chicago, Lake County, Fox Valley, Springfield, and the St. Louis Metro East area. These centers offer residential and outpatient treatment services for adults, teens, and adolescents accessed through insurance, state funding, and self-pay.

Gateway's professional clinicians help thousands of individuals successfully complete treatment by developing a personalized plan that treats the underlying causes of substance abuse—not just addiction to drugs or alcohol.

Learn more about insurance coverage, treatment options, or Gateway's confidential consultation at or call 877-505-HOPE (4673).

Reporters and Editors, for more information, please call Jason Stutz at 312-663-1130.