Dear Editor:

Alcohol is a major problem in the U.S. It does not discriminate by gender, age, ethnicity or education level. Not only does it exact a large human toll, it also costs the United State approximately $185 billion annually.

On April 11, Screening from Mental Health, Inc., will again be holding National Alcohol Screening Day (NASD). Across the U.S., thousands of colleges, community organizations and military installations will provide outreach, education and anonymous screenings, free of charge, for anyone who wishes to get a sense of whether their drinking is a problem.

Over the years, this has proved to be a life-changing day for many people who screen "positive" for symptoms of alcohol abuse and were referred on to clinical help. Last year's National Alcohol Screening Day drew more than 30,000 screenings.

Alcohol abuse can often occur with other mental health issues and can exacerbate the symptoms of illness such as depression and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Alcohol is often used to "medicate" these disorders but, being a depressant itself, it can make the problem worse.

One of the more troubling aspects of drinking is that, while alcoholism brings with it many life and health problems, you do not have to have a drinking problem for alcohol to negatively impact your life. One person's problem with alcohol can negatively impact his or her family, friends, coworkers and more.

Those interested in taking a screening can find sites in their area by visiting www.HowDoYouScore.org [1].

Angela Devereaux,

marketing andcommunication manager,

Screening for Mental Health, Inc.