CHARLESTON, W.Va. — On March 30, West Virginia Governor Jim Justice signed a new proclamation in to West Virginia legislation.

The West Virginia Alcohol Beverage Control Administration announced that Gov. Justice officially recognized April as Alcohol Awareness Month in West Virginia.

In issuing the proclamation, Gov. Justice emphasized the need to increase public awareness and understanding about the dangers associated with underage alcohol use and adult misuse.

Since 1987, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence has recognized April as Alcohol Awareness Month. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) every year in the United States approximately 95,000 people die from alcohol related causes.

Alcohol Use disorder (AUD) affects about 15 million adults in the United States, reports the National Institute for Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA). The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) reports that about 2.3 million adolescents aged 12 to 17 in 2019 drank alcohol in the past month, and about 1.2 million of these adolescents binge drank in the last month. 

WVABCA Commissioner Fred Wooton said, “We are grateful for Governor Justice’s proclamation.” Commissioner Wooton added, “the WVABCA is committed to addressing the dangers associated with alcohol misuse by working with community leaders and law enforcement on a local, county and state level as we strengthen our collective ability to protect our youth and families”  

To address these issues, the WVABCA has a DUI simulator that has traveled to high schools across the state and attended safety type events. Since 2010, over 67,000 students have experienced this life saving program. Additionally, the WVABCA’s NO School Spirits Public Service Announcement (PSA) contest has reached tens of thousands of students.

This program is in its tenth year and encourages and empowers youth to develop and produce meaningful educational and prevention messaging aimed at preventing underage drinking. The WVABCA licensing and enforcement efforts are also geared to protect the public.

New carding posters are available for businesses to ensure compliance and help avoid underage alcohol sales.