Rethink the Drink

April is Alcohol Awareness Month: Rethink the Drink

This article was featured on the Tillamook Headlight Herald

by Janeane Krongos

Did you know that excessive alcohol use is a leading cause of death in Oregon? According to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA), excessive alcohol use is the 3rd leading cause of death among Oregonians. To address this concern, the OHA launched a campaign called ‘Rethink the Drink’. The target audience for this campaign is adults who are at the legal age to drink who consume alcohol.  One of the main components of this campaign is a website. People who visit the website can learn about excessive alcohol use, health consequences of excessive alcohol use, and learn where to get support for excessive alcohol use. The campaign’s website is

Top takeaways from the ‘Rethink the Drink’ website:

  • Excessive drinking includes underage drinking, drinking while pregnant, binge drinking, and heavy drinking
  • More than 1 in 5 Oregon adults drink excessively.
  • Excessive drinking increases a person’s risk of an alcohol use disorder, certain cancers (colorectal, prostate, breast, cancers of the mouth, etc.), heart disease, and liver disease.
  • For some people, any amount of alcohol is too much, and can cause them harm.
  • Not all drinks have equal alcohol content. Alcohol calculators can help a person understand how many standard drinks that are in each drink.  For more information about standard drinks, review the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism at
  • Binge drinking for a male is five or more drinks on one occasion. Binge drinking for females is four or more drinks on one occasion.
  • Heavy drinking for a male is fifteen or more drinks per week. Heavy drinking for a female is, eight or more a drinks per week.
  • Alcohol effects people differently, male and female bodies process alcohol differently. The campaign linked a helpful webpage that a person can review to learn more about these differences.
  • A person can become more aware of their behaviors involving alcohol by utilizing the track, count, and shift method. Step 1 is to track the amount of drinks consumed. Step 2 is to calculate the total alcohol in each drink. Step 3 is to get advice and to shift to healthier options.
  • For people who feel that they are in need of support to reduce excessive alcohol use, help is available. The campaign website has a resource section to help Oregonians locate local supports utilizing the alcohol treatment navigator. One local provider that is located on the navigator is the Tillamook Family Counseling Center, to learn more call (503)842-8201.

Following the review of the ‘Rethink the Drink’ website, I encourage adults to have a conversation about alcohol youth that are in their care. Continue reading to get some practical tips to get you started.

  • Begin having these conversations early and continue to have conversations about alcohol into early adulthood.
  • Integrate conversations about alcohol into everyday conversations.
  • Ask questions and practice active listening.
  • Remind youth about family rules regarding alcohol.
  • Educate youth about the health consequences of alcohol use. Reference the ‘Rethink the Drink’ campaign to learn about common health consequences of excessive alcohol use.
  • Let youth know that underage drinking is one form of excessive drinking. Inform youth that excessive drinking can increase the risk of an alcohol use disorder.
  • Help youth brainstorm a couple options that they can use to decline alcohol. Let them practice the options with you until they feel comfortable using them in real life situations.
  • Talk with youth about problem gambling. Youth who gamble have an increased risk of underage substance use and binge drinking. To learn more substance use and gambling, I recommend reviewing the Oregon Health Authority’s ‘Impact of Problem Gambling on Public Health’. This document is located at To learn more about problem gambling prevention strategies visit Oregon Problem Gambling Resource at
  • Let youth know that they can come to you whenever they have a question or concern.

For additional tips, I would recommend reviewing the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration’s Talk They Hear You campaign. This campaign has many resources including a mobile app, fact sheets, brochures, podcast, and a family agreement form. This campaign is located at

-Published April 24, 2023