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Free Alcohol Screenings Offered

Hospitals, medical centers and college campuses around the country Thursday are participating in the first-ever National Alcohol Screening Day. The free, anonymous screenings offer one-on-one sessions with health professionals who can answer questions about alcohol abuse and dependence, and make referrals to treatment centers.

Nearly 14 million adults in the United States suffer from alcohol abuse and dependence - one out of every 13 people, says Health Reporter Dr. Dave Hnida of CBS News affiliate KCNC-TV in Denver.

If you are concerned that you or a loved one may be suffering from this problem, The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism suggests looking for the following symptoms:

  • Drinking to calm nerves, forget about worries or boost one's mood
  • A need for greater amounts of alcohol
  • Lying about one's alcohol habits
  • Feeling guilt about drinking
  • Irritable and unreasonable behavior when sober
  • Failed attempts to stop or cut down on drinking
  • Developing medical, social, or financial problems caused by drinking

If these signs sound familiar, the program Thursday is a great opportunity to find out more. The event is a public service event of National Alcohol Awareness Month, which seeks to educate Americans on coping with and treating alcoholism.

The screening day is also focusing on college drinking. Some 500 college campuses are participating in the program. Studies have shown that many college drinkers consume alcohol on more than 10 occasions each month. Also, 81 percent of fraternity and sorority residents binge drink, and alcohol is a factor in more than half of the fatal car crashes involving college-age people.

While this nationwide program is only available Thursday, you can always ask your local doctor, hospital or alcohol treatment center for guidance, says Hnida.

The phone number for finding a National Alcohol Screening Day center near you is 1-800-405-9200.

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