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Agencies offer free alcohol screening day today

PARK HILLS — For most adults, moderate alcohol use causes few, if any, problems. But for some, any alcohol may lead to significant health problems.

Trying to figure out the risks associated with alcohol use is not easy because alcohol affects your body differently at different times.

To protect yourself, it is important to figure out where you should draw the line when consuming alcohol — where to draw the line as you get older, if you are trying to get pregnant, if you have a family history of alcohol abuse, if you develop a medical condition or if you take certain medications.

To help determine where you should draw the line, the Southeast Missouri Community Treatment Center, St. Francois County Health Department, St. Francois County Partnership and Southeast Missouri Mental Health Center are working together to offer a free and anonymous education and screening program as part of National Alcohol Screening Day today from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The screenings will be held at the Factory in Farmington.

As part of the free program, participants will hear an educational presentation on alcohol problems, complete a written self-test, and have the opportunity to talk privately with a health professional.

An educational video, pamphlets and brochures will be available, as well as referrals to local treatment and support resources for those who need further evaluation.

“Although most individuals who drink do so safely, many people are unaware of the negative effects alcohol can have on health,” said Rochelle Vogt, director of Community Services at the Southeast Missouri Community Treatment Center. “The goal of National Alcohol Screening Day is to educate the public on the potential risks associated with drinking. Through education, awareness and understanding, individuals can make informed decisions about their drinking behaviors.”

Free alcohol screenings also will be from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Mineral Area College April 17.

The screening will offer students the opportunity to learn what they need to know to draw the line.

A brief self-assessment asks students about their drinking habits and if their behaviors have changed due to their drinking. In addition to taking the written self-test, students will hear an educational presentation about how alcohol can affect health and the dangers of risky drinking.

Students will have the opportunity to talk one-on-one with a health professional. If appropriate, students will be directed to support or treatment services on campus.

National Alcohol Screening Day is held in April as part of Alcohol Awareness Month. It is a program of the nonprofit organization, Screening for Mental Health, Inc., in collaboration with the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

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